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Perfect Harmony: A Musical Journey with the Boys Choir of Harlem

Perfect Harmony: A Musical Journey with the Boys Choir of Harlem

by Charles R. Smith

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Poetic Expressions Spirited poetry and vibrant photographs combine in Perfect Harmony: A Musical Journey with the Boys Choir of Harlem by Charles R. Smith Jr. Chapters include "Tempo," "Soprano Haiku" and "B-flat Boogie," and back matter provides a glossary of musical and poetic terms. (Aug.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
This colorful resource uses catchy poems and vibrant photographs to explore different musical concepts, such as tempo, rhythm, and harmony. Focusing on the Boys Choir of Harlem, this book introduces youngsters to the importance of getting focused, breathing correctly, finding the right tempos and rhythms, having a strong voice, and participating in a musical ensemble. Double-page spreads feature pastel pages with playful, spiritual poetry and close-up photos of choir members practicing and performing their music. At the end of the book, the author also includes glossaries for musical and poetic terms. After reading this wonderful musical celebration, youngsters and their parents will want to stand up and let their voices be heard. This book offers an honest, insightful look at the amazing world of music. 2002, Hyperion Books for Children,
— Debra Briatico
School Library Journal
Gr 2-8-Smith tops himself again with this collection of poems about singing. Paired with his movement-filled photos of the Boys Choir of Harlem, the selections inspire readers to "Focus"-"Eyes focus/like/the calm/before the storm/ready to erupt/before I perform-"-or to sing, "It don't/really matter/if your high notes/can make glass shatter/just-/Belt out a tune/bounce to the beat,/make me clap loud/and jump out my seat./Yeah!" He illustrates the layering of harmonizing voices and the effects of rhythm in a tone that speaks naturally, lyrically, and directly to young readers. Smith's color photographs of the chorus members in rehearsal and performance capture the drama, emotion, and energy of singing. The pictures and poems are laid out in pairs against blocks of warm pastel colors that set off the mood of the words and illustrations. The glossary of musical terms at the end is generally helpful, as is the accompanying glossary of poetic terms, though it bears less directly on the text. To enjoy alone or to read to a group, this is a rousing tribute to the poetic and musical voice.-Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Thirteen poems about vocal music focus on the world renowned Boys Choir of Harlem, with photographs of choir members by Smith (Loki and Alex: The Adventures of a Dog and His Best Friend, 2001, etc.). Poetic themes include basic concepts such as breath control, tempo, harmony, and solo singing, while other poems describe more abstract concepts such as focus and the idea of many individual voices creating one larger group effort. A variety of lengths and formats includes free verse, rhyming poems, and four haiku that describe the four vocal parts (soprano, alto, tenor, and bass). The quality of the poems and photographs varies as well, with some of the rhymes a little off-key and some of the photos, especially those of singers in motion, too blurred to give much more than an impression. Elementary and middle-school music teachers may find these poems useful to integrate poetry into music classes, and they will also use the appended lists of poetic and musical term definitions with students. A final full page of author acknowledgments and thanks would have been better utilized with basic information about the choir and its significant location. (Poetry. 6-12)

Product Details

Publication date:
Edition description:
Ages 7 and up
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 10.32(h) x 0.32(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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