In My Neighborhood

Tilbury House. Sept. 2021. 36p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9780884487012.
PreS-Gr 2–A celebratory story about conquering self-doubt and finding one’s purpose, Loubriel’s lyrical rhymes will compel every young reader and lover of music to dance for joy. Set in a cityscape designed with geometric brickwork and tree branches like musical notes, anthropomorphized instruments are dressed in their finest and filling the streets with bright sounds. Drum tells how he quietly compares his “rat-a-tat” sound to the soulful melodies of his Oboe father, Piano mother, and Violin brother, as well as the other musical instrument townspeople. When invited to play with the Saxophone brothers, Drum discovers he can claim his own sound and confidently contributes to the songs shared by all. With sweeping and sometimes tilting perspectives guided by light-infused focal points, Coelho employs masterful use of color with a wealth of hues and textures to enliven the scenes. By story’s end, the compositions mimic the pulsing beats of Drum’s rhythm. A passionate author’s note closes this story that honors the joy of music while honoring every individual sound.
VERDICT With captivating, luminously colorful illustrations and a vintage feel, the story serves as an apt allegory in how each individual instrument holds value in the force of music’s power.

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