My Family Plays Music

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Cox's (Now We Can Have a Wedding!) rhythmic story, a cheerful African-American girl introduces the members of her family, each of whom plays an instrument in a different musical setting-with the aspiring young percussionist accompanying. When her mother plays fiddle in a country-and-western band, the girl shakes the tambourine; when her father plays cello in a string quartet, she picks up the triangle; when her sister plays clarinet in the marching band, she works the cymbals; and when her brother plays lead guitar in a rock 'n' roll band, she rings the cowbell. The woodblock, maracas, rhythm sticks and wind chimes are among the other percussion instruments the child plays alongside other family musicians, who perform in a jazz club, and polka and bluegrass bands, among other places. In a playful final performance, the girl bangs on a soup kettle when her toddler niece "plays the pots and pans, drumming on them with a wooden spoon." First-time illustrator Brown's cut paper art, which features a pleasing palette blending muted and vibrant hues, is perhaps a bit too stylized to match the narrative's buoyant tempo. The facial features of the characters, including the narrator, disappear when the figures are pictured in the background. A glossary offers concise explanations of the musical genres, venues and instruments. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Music has often been referred to as the universal language, and the gifted young girl telling this story can attest to this statement. Her multi-talented family boasts of a mixed interest in a variety of musical styles. The narrator supplements and enhances her family's talents by playing the tambourine, triangle, cymbals, and other percussion instruments. She proudly demonstrates her flair by joining each family member as they display their own unique interest in all types of music. Their musical preferences range from country-and-western to big band, jazz, polka, and of course, rock 'n' roll. The text may be simple but the narrator's appreciation of all types of music conveys a deeper message of acceptance. By openly embracing each of these styles she is innocently demonstrating an acceptance and enthusiasm for the culture that created it. The lively illustrations superbly augment this underlying theme. The book concludes with a glossary that provides a slightly more detailed description of each musical type. 2003, Holiday House, Ages 4 to 8.
— Denise Daley
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-More a celebration of sound than a story, this upbeat picture book explores 10 different types of music. The young African-American narrator introduces each member of her extended family and the style of music he or she plays, from blue grass to marching band to rock 'n' roll to church hymns. As different as these genres are, this girl can always play along with each of her relatives, keeping the beat with an appropriate percussion instrument, including the cymbals, a cowbell, and maracas. Finally, she joins her young niece on the floor to drum on pots and pans. A glossary defining all the musical terms and genres appears on the last page. The cut-paper illustrations are vibrant and filled with energy. The bright reds, sunny yellows, and deep blues are similar in palette to Synthia Saint James's artwork. Pair this title with Lloyd Moss's Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin (S & S, 1995) for a fun and useful introduction to music.-Jane Marino, Bronxville Public Library, NY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Here’s a clan that outdoes even the Marsalis family. From her great grandmother, who plays a cathedral’s mighty pipe organ, to little niece Sadie, who plays pots and pans in the kitchen, it seems that everyone related to this high-energy young narrator is a musician. And she’s no exception, either: in fact, she plays with them all, on tambourine, triangle, cowbell, woodblock, maracas, handbell, and more. In cut-paper collages that look silk-screened, Brown depicts this exuberant percussionist with cornrows and a big grin, confidently accompanying big band and string quartet, dancing on club stages, and joining marching bands, plainly welcome wherever she goes. A closing glossary explains some of the terms and musical genres mentioned here, but it’s the pride this child takes in her family, and her place in that family, that readers will remember most clearly. (Picture book. 6-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823415915
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/2003
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.26 (w) x 8.82 (h) x 0.34 (d)

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