A Neighborhood Walk, A Musical Journey

Albert Whitman. Apr. 2021. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780807536704.
K-Gr 2–”Honk-honk, tweet-tweet, patter-patter!” This sweet, fun read-aloud drums up nostalgia for all the rhythms, noises, and dreams of the city. On their way to the farmers market, a mother and daughter duo appreciate street musicians: a saxophone next to their apartment building (“toot-a-toot swoosh,”) a drummer in the subway (“boom-bam-boom-boom”), a flautist by the flower shop sounds like butterfly wings. But it’s when they arrive at the market that Penelope, with her black ringlets piled atop her head and glowing brown face lifted to the sky, finds an instrument that sings a dream into her heart. Duchess’s attractive cartoon-style drawings are full of pinks, purples, and periwinkles set next to spots of bold ochre and rust. The colorful scenes show a loving relationship between mother and daughter, and cast the city in the idealistic light of a child’s perspective. Hill’s text conveys the rhythm of the various music styles and may have readers tapping a toe. Readers will note the diversity of the city through a variety of skin tones and hair types.
VERDICT Don’t let the clunky title scare you off—this is a classic story with fresh illustrations recommended for every picture book collection.

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