All Eyes on Ozzy!
K-Fai Steele. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-274858-4
Tan-skinned Ozzy adores getting attention: she’s first seen skating into the kitchen with the family cat balanced on a box on her head. So she’s elated when she ends up with the drum part for a school recital—¡Vamos a Bailar! Let’s Dance!—directed by her beloved music teacher. During the first rehearsal, Ozzy goes wild, bashing the drum as loudly as she can. The picture of calm, Ms. Bomba, who has brown skin, says “let’s just take it from the top,” then assigns Ozzy a triangle, too. Lying on her bed at home, Ozzy resembles an Allie Brosh character, with a wide-eyed, thousand-mile stare, and limp arms and legs: “How were you supposed to feel good when all you got was bom-bom-bom-ding?” Kinetic watercolor-and-ink drawings by Steele (Okapi Tale) are packed with energy and information about Ms. Bomba’s variously inclusive music classroom. Steele makes Ozzy’s need to be the center of everything funny rather than off-putting, and the story is free from any whiff of moralizing—watching the protagonist learn how to become part of a team is a pleasure straight through. Ages 4–8. Agent: Erica Rand Silverman, Stimola Literary. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/05/2021