Broadway Banjo Bill

Broadway Banjo Bill

by Leah Komaiko, Franz Spohn

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
``Walking down Broadway / Walking with my Mom-May / it's my / birthday / everybody look this way. / Look at me / I just turned six!'' So begins Komaiko's ( Annie Bananie ; I Like the Music ) funky, somewhat quirkily rhymed tale about a boy's search for his favorite street musician. When he discovers that Broadway Banjo Bill is not in his regular spot, the boy follows leads provided by other sidewalk performers, until he finally locates the jovial musician in a restaurant. He spies his fan, ``Then he stomps with his boot / And he smiles with his eyes / And he picks up his banjo / For the biggest surprise.'' That being, of course, a rousing chorus of ``Happy Birthday,'' in which all the other street musicians join as a baker appears with a cake. Though its rhythm occasionally stumbles, Komaiko's verse has an original beat and a kid-pleasing buoyancy, as do Spohn's humorously hyperbolic cartoons, drawn with ink marker and watercolors. Filled with motion, large-scale perspectives and radiant colors, these illustrations--which seem to spill off the pages in their merriment--get this first-time illustrator off to an exuberant start. Ages 4-8. ( Feb.)
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-- From its offbeat cityscape cover to the final party scene, this book reverberates with zany caricatures and riotous color that outshine the text. A boy and his mother venture down New York City's Broadway looking for a familiar banjo-playing street busker to help kick off the child's sixth birthday. Stopping to listen to several other street musicians along the way, they finally arrive at a diner where Broadway Banjo Bill has come for lunch, and all of the singers appear to join in the rousing ``Happy Birthday'' chorus. The large, bustling, double-page, marker-and-watercolor scenes and the raplike street beat of the text will attract children. Spohn's illustrations are nicely composed, with just the right amount of eye-catching detail. The fish store owner's fish eyes and mouth; the baker's puffy, doughlike arms and cheeks; and the distinct personality traits of the various street performers add humor. Unfortunately, the writing seems forced, with words or phrases added in many places just to work the beat or match the rhyme. The story builds to the end, and then falls flat. Not one of Komaiko's best efforts. --Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >