Esquivel! Space-Age Sound Artist

Susan Wood, illus. by Duncan Tonatiuh. Charlesbridge, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-58089-673-3
Wood (Under the Freedom Tree) and Tonatiuh (Funny Bones) team up to recount the life of Juan García Esquivel (1918–2002), who grew up with music in Mexico, “where whirling mariachi bands let out joyful yells as they stamped and strummed,” and made it his life’s work as a bandleader and composer. Tonatiuh’s Mexican-art-inspired collages translate smoothly to the 1950s and ’60s, when Esquivel was at the height of his creative output, creating lounge music using newly developed stereo recording technology. Wood’s straightforward narration moves readers briskly through the musician’s life, and her descriptions of the sounds he developed (“like a crazy rocket ride zigzagging through outer space”) should lead many of them to seek out recordings of his work. It’s a welcome tribute to an underrated figure in 20th-century music. A Spanish-language edition is available simultaneously. Ages 6–9. Author’s agent: Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown Literary. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/15/2016
Release date: 09/06/2016
Hardcover - 32 pages - 978-1-58089-733-4
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