cover image The Oboe Goes Boom Boom Boom

The Oboe Goes Boom Boom Boom

Colleen AF Venable, illus. by Lian Cho. Greenwillow, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-249437-5

The oboe, of course, does not go “Boom Boom Boom.” But each time jolly-looking band director Mr. V., who sports bright red suspenders, gives a student the opportunity to play their instrument of choice, he’s interrupted by little Felicity, who has already discovered her love of whaling on an enormous drum. Mr. V—an afterword notes he’s based on Venable’s (Kiss Number 8) father—never fully loses his cool. As he introduces eight different instruments, he always has a vivid analogy, fascinating factoid, or inspirational pep talk to hold his rambunctious audience’s attention. “When you start playing,” he says of the oboe, “it WILL sound like an angry duck who landed on an icy lake. But play it right and that duck will learn to ice skate and glide its way to Olympic gold.” Debut illustrator Cho’s boisterously choreographed collage and acrylic vignettes play right along: frisky typography and balloons of musical notation float through the air, and visual nudges and jokes elevate the story without sidetracking it. The afterword includes short, inclusive bios of diverse real-life classical, rock, and jazz musicians upon whom the book’s characters are based. Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Sept.) [/em]