Inside Out: A Musical Adventure

Elizabeth Swados, Author Little Brown and Company $14.95 (120p) ISBN 978-0-316-82466-8
A freestyle fantasy that reaches giddy heights of invention, this first book by composer Swados follows nine-year-old twins Gemma and George from a fairly humdrum music lesson with Mr. Phineas VagenWorgenVurststet to an odyssey through the insides of timpani, oboes, cymbals and other orchestral instruments, all of which are inhabited by legions of creatures. Those encountered along the way range ``from fireflies to women who resembled chemistry professors, from fat snails to . . . strange-shaped banging bones.'' In this musical limbo, the Queen of Flat Notes and the Duke of Sharps conspire to ruin music for everyone. Patrolling the air in a ``space lobster'' vehicle, they ``stomped on poor squealing notes,'' and Gemma and George try to forestall their rude sabotages. Swados's verbal play demands to be read aloud, and her visual sense--best revealed in her words, not her pictures--is as rollicking as Walt Disney's. But her feat of educational escapism could take a tip from Lewis Carroll: the book lacks an organizing, allegorical intelligence. Ages 8-12. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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