cover image Want to Be in a Band?

Want to Be in a Band?

Suzzy Roche, illus. by Giselle Potter. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-375-86879-5

With the characteristic wit known to her fans, Roche, of the folk-rock band the Roches, disguises first-person memoir as second-person advice about making music. “First you’ll need two interesting, smart older sisters who can play guitars and sing,” she begins. As gifted a writer as she is a performer, Roche employs a tone that stretches from encouraging (“If you start to feel hopeless, take a deep breath, close your eyes and say ‘I can do it’ three times”) to goofy (“If you can’t agree about which notes to sing... it will make your music sound strange, maybe like a churning garbage truck”) and honest (about not being the “Next Big Thing” anymore: “Don’t be surprised if it makes you and your sisters feel sort of crummy and sad”). At the book’s heart is a well of feeling, and Potter’s watercolor-and-ink spreads—with their self-conscious, folk-naïf figures and whimsical asides (musical notes flying from a guitar, a whale surfacing from the ocean over which the band travels on tour)—look like the Roches’ music visualized. Ages 4–8. (Feb.)