cover image What Is Punk?

What Is Punk?

Eric Morse, illus. by Anny Yi. Akashic/Black Sheep, $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-61775-392-3

Clay artist Yi molds lumpy, fantastically detailed Plasticine figures to create scenes of the birth of punk. Using a benign craft-project material for the skinny bodies and ragged clothing of Joey Ramone, Sid Vicious, and their rowdy, fist-waving audiences is very much in the spirit of punk (Plasticine is especially good for mohawks), and readers will spend long stretches inspecting her painstakingly modeled guitars, amplifiers, and safety pins. Music industry veteran Morse’s too-cute verse, sadly, lacks the substance and wit that such a project deserves. Moving from New York City and Detroit to London and the California coast, the text consists largely of lists of punk bands studded with occasional trivia (“Iggy Pop and the Stooges/ were known for outrageous stunts./ If you ask, anyone will tell you:/ Iggy never wore a shirt, not once!”), too often marred by awkward rhythms and phrasings (“The Descendants and the Dickies, Circle Jerks, Germs, and Weirdos,/ were all punks who had fun and kept fans on their toes”). In all, it’s not quite enough to give a real sense of the power of punk. Ages 3–7. (Oct.)