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Children's LiteratureAGERANGE: Ages 4 to 6.
This is a reissue of a 1950 story by John Ernest (Jack) Bechdolt, who died in 1954. Adults may recognize the story from the original. Dan Yaccarino has captured the style of the 1950s with his illustrations but with a full-color palette. Young Ollie plays a big bass horn and the loudness of the notes gets on everybody's nerves. Mom chases him outside, the neighbors are miffed and the dogs howl in accompaniment. The townsfolk drive him to the country where the results are not much better. Finally, he drifts in a small boat while playing "Asleep in the Deep." The booming low notes are heard by a ship in distress and all's well that ends well. Ollie, now a hero, is warmly welcomed home, given a medal for bravery, and sent to music school, where he can play as loud as he wants with other horn players and no one is disturbed. Oh, if getting into music school were only that easy! Whether young readers of today will find the story as engaging as those of 50 years ago remains to be seen. Comparing the artwork from the two editions would be interesting and could lead to a discussion of how publishing has changed. Reviewer: Leslie Greaves Radloff