A bespectacled boy is given the opportunity to learn an instrument, but when his parents bring him to a music shop, he has trouble choosing among his 88 options. What ensues is a playful exploration of sound and the vast (and cacophonous) world of musical instruments. The boy’s overwhelmed parents follow him as he tries out the triangle, trombone, tuba, harp, and drums and everything else in between. Barton’s use of superlatives results in a hilarious onomatopoeic romp through the shop: “Do I pick the squeeziest? The wheeziest? The easiest and breeziest? But how about the slideyest…the squonkiest…the blowiest…?” The work’s title might give away the child’s eventual pick, but readers will have a fun time arriving at his final decision. While at first overwhelmed at having to master the 88 keys of the piano, the boy is determined to learn one note at a time. Thomas’s watercolor illustrations accentuate the silly narrative, adding pizzazz and fluidity to the text. The warm browns and yellows evoke a place of comfort—while the narrator is frazzled by his plethora of selections, he’s secure in his ability to eventually choose. The illustrator’s expressive line emphasizes each of the characters’ reactions with humor and gusto. VERDICT A delightful offering for reading aloud, especially during music-themed story times. — Shelley Diaz, School Library Journal
About the Chris Barton
Chris Barton doesn’t have a favorite instrument, but his favorite piece is Rhapsody in Blue because it has everything there is to love about music. Chris is the author of the New York Times bestselling Shark vs. Train, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld and The Day-Glo Brothers, illustrated by Tony Persiani. He lives in Austin, Texas with his family. Follow Chris on Twitter, @Bartography.
Louis Thomas loves the piano and plays his everyday. One of his favorite pieces to play is Rhapsody in Blue! He graduated from Gobelins, Paris and Calarts, Los Angeles. He has worked in animation at Pixar and Cartoon Network. He now lives and works with his cat Pipo. Visit Louis at louist.blogspot.com.