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Review of Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters

Muddy: The Story of Blues Legend Muddy Waters by Michael Mahin; illus. by Evan Turk Primary, Intermediate    Atheneum    48 pp. 9/17    978-1-4814-4349-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-4350-0    $10.99 McKinley “Muddy Waters” Morganfield (1915–1983) is known for his role in establishing the musical genre known as the “Chicago blues.” This picture-book biography begins with his childhood in […]

Review of Listen: How Pete Seeger Got America Singing

Listen: How Pete Seeger Got America Singing by Leda Schubert; illus. by Raúl Colón Primary    Porter/Roaring Brook    40 pp.    g 6/17    978-1-62672-250-7    $17.99 This picture-book biography of folk legend Seeger lays out the events of his adult life with a focus not on dry facts but on helping child readers […]

Shut up, Rihanna

I guess the phrase “last night on TV” has been rendered obsolete, but last night on TV we watched the fourth episode of the second season of The Path, a Hulu series starring Hugh Dancy, Michelle Monaghan, and Aaron Paul about people in a cult–true believers, skeptics, and apostates (sometimes all in the same character, as […]

Sound Rebound app review

“Sound Rebound is an offbeat experience of color and sound that invites you to create ricochets, bounces, or bumps to investigate seeing and hearing. Imagine yourself inside a fluid world of 2-D shapes and design. What does it look and sound like? That’s up to you,” writes the Exploratorium of its newest app release (November 2016; iOS […]

Review of Esquivel!: Space-Age Sound Artist

Esquivel!: Space-Age Sound Artist by Susan Wood; illus. by Duncan Tonatiuh Primary, Intermediate    Charlesbridge    32 pp. 9/16    978-1-58089-673-3    $17.95 e-book ed.  978-1-60734-825-2    $9.99 Growing up in Mexico, Juan Garcia Esquivel got an earful of mariachi, but he wanted to create his own sound. Self-taught and persistent, he was playing piano at a radio station at […]

Music makers

Deans, Karen  Swing Sisters: The Story of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm Gr. K–3     32 pp.     Holiday Illustrated by Joe Cepeda. This book recounts the highs (performing for soldiers overseas) and lows (dealing with Jim Crow laws in the South) for the Sweethearts, an all-female jazz band started in 1939 at a school for African […]

Melody Jams app review

Similar in structure to Toca Boca’s Toca Band (but both a little less substantial and a little less…out there), Melody Jams (Melody Jams Inc., April 2016; iOS only) lets you rock out with your own hand-picked backup band. Fill up to five band spots by selecting from twelve monster musicians on instruments such as guitar, […]

Review of 88 Instruments

88 Instruments by Chris Barton; 
illus. by Louis Thomas Primary    Knopf    32 pp. 8/16    978-0-553-53814-4    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-553-53815-1    $20.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-553-53823-6    $10.99 Move over, kid in the candy shop: a child has been unleashed in a music store, and the sight of its many — eighty-eight — instruments has the effect of […]

From The Guide: Celebrating Music

Troy Andrews’s Trombone Shorty, for which Bryan Collier took home the 2016 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award (read his acceptance speech), is an inspirational musician’s-origin story. It’s also a celebration of music’s power to transform and uplift performers and to open doors. For more books to foster a love of and respect for music for […]

Review of Just a Lucky So and So: The Story of Louis Armstrong

Just a Lucky So and So: The Story of Louis Armstrong by Lesa Cline-Ransome; 
illus. by James Ransome Primary    Holiday    40 pp. 4/16    978-0-8234-3428-2    $16.95 e-book ed.  978-0-8234-3598-2    $16.95 Today’s child may know Louis Armstrong only as the trumpeter of “What a Wonderful World” or as a character in an old movie; the Ransomes’ newest […]