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“Bright, colorful illustrations and short, catchy rhymes… in an accessible, knowledgeable format [that] is a solid success.” —School Library Journal

Caldecott Honor winner and two-time New York Times best illustrator of the year author and illustrator Stephen T. Johnson’s lyrical journey of sounds, styles, and rhythms culminate in this highly imaginative and beautifully orchestrated celebration of music.

Experience ten different types of music—classical, Latin, jazz, country, heavy metal, hip-hop, rock and roll, rhythm and blues, electronica, pop, and a surprise finale. Unfolding through an inventive accordion form is a masterful concert of playfully crafted singsong text in harmony with delightfully whimsical art. On the reverse side is a rich, in-depth glossary for each genre, sure to be a wonderful resource for all ages.

Stephen T. Johnson is well known for his innovate children’s books and glorious public artwork and his dynamic performance in (with) Music is… will leave you wanting an encore!

Photograph courtesy of the author

Stephen T. Johnson is the creator of such well-known children’s books as My Little Red Toolbox, a Publishers Weekly bestseller; My Little Blue Robot, a Newsweek Holiday pick; A Is for Art: An Abstract Alphabet, an ALA Notable and a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year; and Alphabet City, recipient of a Caldecott Honor, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year, and a Society of Illustrators Gold Medal. His artwork can be found in permanent and public collections including the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC; the DeKalb Avenue Subway Station in Brooklyn, New York; the Universal Metro Station in Los Angeles, California; and Love Field Airport in Dallas, Texas. Stephen is a professor at the University of Kansas and he lives in Lawrence, Kansas.

Photograph courtesy of the author

Stephen T. Johnson is the creator of such well-known children’s books as My Little Red Toolbox, a Publishers Weekly bestseller; My Little Blue Robot, a Newsweek Holiday pick; A Is for Art: An Abstract Alphabet, an ALA Notable and a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year; and Alphabet City, recipient of a Caldecott Honor, a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year, and a Society of Illustrators Gold Medal. His artwork can be found in permanent and public collections including the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC; the DeKalb Avenue Subway Station in Brooklyn, New York; the Universal Metro Station in Los Angeles, California; and Love Field Airport in Dallas, Texas. Stephen is a professor at the University of Kansas and he lives in Lawrence, Kansas.

JOHNSON, Stephen T. Music Is....illus. by Stephen T. Johnson. 52p. S. & S./Paula Wiseman Bks. Oct. 2020. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9781416999508.

PreS-Gr 4–This book blends bright, colorful illustrations and short, catchy rhymes with detailed information about musical styles. As Johnson explains in the author’s note, the text was inspired by an idea found in Langston Hughes’s 1954 book The First Book of Rhythms: “Your rhythm on this earth began first with the beat of your heart.” Johnson offers rhymes that could resonate with young readers. For example, the “Rhythm and Blues” section includes a stanza about the “back-to-school blues,” and “Rock and Roll” details a bouncing game of hopscotch. Johnson’s ambitious attempt to capture the artistry and history of these diverse musical styles in an accessible, knowledgeable format is a solid success. The literal through-line connecting the illustrations and narrative keeps the book flowing, and the careful placement of supplementary information about each musical style allows this text to be read in a variety of ways. Readers can travel through the narrative without diving into the informational pages, or take a deeper read into one of the styles of music, practicing rhythms through the narrative and exploring factual information, before moving onto another style. ­VERDICT Purchase this colorful invitation into ­music for classroom and library collections.

–Jen ­McConnel, Queen’s Univ., Ont.

– School Library Journal, September 2020

More books from this author: Stephen T. Johnson