Reviews for Ah, music!

Publishers Weekly
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"Energetic art gives this ode to music, which covers everything from very basic terms to a `mini history' of jazz a lively visual pace," wrote PW. All ages. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Gr. 1-3. The indefatigable Aliki takes on the whole of music--its origins, its history, its necessity to the human spirit. As simply as possible, she explains everything from rhythm, melody, and pitch to orchestral instruments, harmony, and tempo. The human voice and dance come to the fore. Jazz gets two pages, and popular music explodes in a quickie collage of names and dates. Aliki uses all the tools in her formidable repertory: straight text, sidebars, captions, and word balloons play off a profusion of small and not-so-small images of children, instruments, historical characters, and scenes. A gaggle of multiethnic kids sing a round: Row Row Row Your Boat. The Gotta Dance! page echoes everyone from Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire to China's Lion Dancers. For orchestral music, Bruce Koscielniak's Story of the Incredible Orchestra (2000) and Robert T. Levine's Story of the Orchestra (2001) are stronger; for African American music, there's the incomparable 1999 i see the rhythm by Toyomi Igus. But no one else so captures the power of music as Aliki. --GraceAnne DeCandido Copyright 2003 Booklist


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 1-4-Like a carefully composed song, this ode to music slowly unfolds-note by note, line by line, stanza by stanza. The first several pages are devoted to the definition of music itself. With headings like "Music is Rhythm" or "Music is Volume," these terms are explained in an easy, child-friendly manner. For pitch, a boy playing a piccolo says, "A piccolo is so high, I hear it way at the top of my head." Then music as a written creation is introduced with a brief description of notes, likening them to handwriting. Next, "the creation comes to life" through the instruments and orchestra that play it, the voices that sing it, and even the dancers who perform it. With each of these elements, a few lines of explanation are followed by Aliki's signature figures that do so much in such a small space. The history of music is broken down into many stages, from prehistoric to classical to modern, and many composers are introduced with a small portrait captioned by a single sentence. Here, the author sometimes uses words like "motet" or "oratorio" without definition and only gives the briefest of glimpses into centuries and countries. However, the book is meant to be an introduction and Aliki's love of her subject shines through. This enjoyable title is best shared one-on-one and its format makes it ideal for browsing. It should lead young music lovers back to the shelves to find out more about a type of music or composer who has piqued their curiosity.-Jane Marino, Scarsdale Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Aliki takes on this large topic with her signature gift to see the big picture and the details simultaneously--and to break them down into child-sized portions with a masterful sense of pacing, humor, and page design. Due to the vast amount of material covered, this is most likely a book that will be dipped into rather than read all at once, ideally with appropriate music playing in the background. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Everything you'd ever want to know about music: from how to define it, to types of instruments, the voice as an instrument, how dance and music work together, its history and diversity, music as therapy, and the importance of practice. This comprehensive examination is accompanied by Aliki's (One Little Spoonful, 2001, etc.) familiar, clear, child-friendly illustrations. Starting out simple, the first chapter defines something very basic: "If you hum a tune, play an instrument, or clap out a rhythm, you are making music," accompanied by a few spot illustrations. Then, diagrams of an entire orchestra are laid out, sophisticated terms such as "polyphonic" are defined, and lesser-known antique instruments are pictured. There is something here for everyone, from the youngest fans of the simplest melody, to older children looking for a starting point for research, to anyone interested in finding out more about a favorite art form. The joy of music is not lost in all the information, however—the energetic art, particularly in the chapter on dance, conveys the power of music to inspire. (Picture book. 4-10) Copyright ŠKirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Everything you'd ever want to know about music: from how to define it, to types of instruments, the voice as an instrument, how dance and music work together, its history and diversity, music as therapy, and the importance of practice. This comprehensive examination is accompanied by Aliki's (One Little Spoonful, 2001, etc.) familiar, clear, child-friendly illustrations. Starting out simple, the first chapter defines something very basic: "If you hum a tune, play an instrument, or clap out a rhythm, you are making music," accompanied by a few spot illustrations. Then, diagrams of an entire orchestra are laid out, sophisticated terms such as "polyphonic" are defined, and lesser-known antique instruments are pictured. There is something here for everyone, from the youngest fans of the simplest melody, to older children looking for a starting point for research, to anyone interested in finding out more about a favorite art form. The joy of music is not lost in all the information, however—the energetic art, particularly in the chapter on dance, conveys the power of music to inspire. (Picture book. 4-10) Copyright ŠKirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Energetic art gives this ode to music a lively visual pace, but doesn't help Aliki (Feelings) reconcile her overtures to two disparate audiences. Covering everything from very basic terms (e.g., volume "is the loudness or softness of the sound") to a "mini history" of jazz ("The Blues: Earthy music formed of certain `blue-note' chords reflects the melancholy mood of the [1900 Mississippi Delta]"), the volume is ambitious to a fault, attempting to serve the very young as well as more advanced readers. Aliki is at her best in addressing novices, for whom she supplies frequently lyrical definitions: "Rhythm is a marching-band beat, a puffing-train beat, a beating-the-eggs beat, a heart beat." Abundant cartoons amplify these ideas in child-friendly examples (e.g., next to text announcing that "High, sharp pings can sound like piercing light" is an image of Peter Pan flying into a bedroom window, saying via dialogue balloon, "I hear you, Tinkerbell"). But the playful art does not augur a uniformly playful text. Venturing into history, the narrative strains. Occasionally, it falls into the tautological ("Christianity inspired church music") or the recherch (Stravinsky "startled the world with rhythmic neoclassical sounds"). The illustrations, too, can require prior knowledge; for instance, a small image of, presumably, Porgy and Bess appears over a blurb about George Gershwin that identifies him only as a composer-songwriter who "introduced the soul of America to Europe." The tone resumes its childlike simplicity in the final spreads ("We make music. Making music is hard fun"). Attractive but discordant. All ages. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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