The New York Times
In M Is for Music, Kathleen Krull's text follows the alphabet book's canonical form, but she has chosen musical terms and names to replace familiar objects. The 26 listings introduce a melange of words relevant to a music education. Even with its explanatory section at the end, the book seems a bit like a primer in name-dropping, but it would be a fine addition to a grade school music program.
Paul O. Zelinsky
From pop to classical, jazz to folk and everything in between, Krull's (Lives of the Musicians) hip, witty abecedary offers readers an eclectic smorgasbord of musical tastes, terms, instruments, luminaries and more. First-time illustrator Innerst not only maintains the material's nimble tempo, but his slyly humorous, slightly abstract oil and acrylic illustrations give the minimal text a sophisticated spin. The textured brushwork and subdued color create a kind of deadpan delivery for funny spot illustrations-as in a Valkyrie shattering glass ("Vv is for voice and vibration"), a pair of hula-skirted ukuleles dancing on a beach ("Uu is for ukuleles in unison") or a portrait of a pained-looking Mozart plugging his ears as a chorus belts out a melody. Each central image or theme is bolstered by a sprinkling of alphabetically related words. "Aa is for anthem," for instance, features an accordion player and Louis Armstrong alongside such words as "allegro," "alto" and "a cappella." Some of the drollery may be lost on the picture-book audience: "Bb is for Beatles," for example, features the "Bb" picked out in a groovy '60s font and three "bees" labeled "Bach," "Brahms" and "Beethoven" buzzing around the lads from Liverpool. Even so, there's plenty here for all to enjoy. All ages. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
"An imaginative fusion of finely tuned text and inventive illustrations."
Music is the theme of this alphabet book. For each letter there are various musical terms beginning with that letter. All of these are more clearly explained or defined at the end. Scattered on the single or double pages are additional musical names or terms. Each is an incentive to find out more, or to discuss what is suggested, going beyond serving as an introduction to aspects of music, ranging from Louis Armstrong and the Beatles to Mozart, The Nutcracker, yodeling and zydeco. Innerst loosely and impressionistically paints objects somehow related to the "A is for" pattern, but goes far beyond any literal interpretation. For example, the open-mouthed Wagnerian soprano shatters a glass; a large alligator plays an accordion; Mozart puts his fingers in his ears to keep out the Motown. Each page or double page, painted in oils and acrylics, is an invitation to follow the scattered words even as we smile at the visual comedies. A few appropriate quotations about music introduce the book, which music teachers should find particularly useful. 2003, Harcourt, Ages 7 to 11.
Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Sophisticated paintings in olive, tan, gray, rust, aqua, and black raise the age level of the appeal of this abecedarian collection of musical terms. Text and art cooperate marvelously; each spread contains additional terms, musicians, composers, and instruments painted into the background. On the "A" page, the text states, "Aa is for anthem and accordion," and those are pictured, but the illustrations also include the words "allegro," "alto, " "a cappella, " "aria, " and a labeled portrait of Louis Armstrong. The pastiche of images and terms resembles collage and will intrigue those interested in researching the more obscure terms. After "zydeco and zither," the punnily titled "Musical Notes from A to Z" provides information on each letter's main entries, but not the ones that appear in the art. Best for those ready to explore an interest in music, this will also appeal to those just learning the alphabet. (Picture book. 4-8)
School Library Journal (starred)
"The range of words explored is almost as vast as the world of music itself."
"It's an entertaining read for children and adults alike."
From the Publisher
"A mélange of words relevant to a music education . . . Well-developed subject matter and a sense of humor."--The New York Times Book Review
"Like a grand piano: It hits all the high notes but reaches the bass undertones as well . . . Fresh, eye-catching."--Boston Herald