cover image M IS FOR MUSIC


Kathleen Krull, , illus. by Stacy Innerst. . Harcourt, $16 (44pp) ISBN 978-0-15-201438-4

From pop to classical, jazz to folk and everything in between, Krull's (Lives of the Musicians) hip, witty abecedary offers readers an eclectic smorgasbord of musical tastes, terms, instruments, luminaries and more. First-time illustrator Innerst not only maintains the material's nimble tempo, but his slyly humorous, slightly abstract oil and acrylic illustrations give the minimal text a sophisticated spin. The textured brushwork and subdued color create a kind of deadpan delivery for funny spot illustrations—as in a Valkyrie shattering glass ("Vv is for voice and vibration"), a pair of hula-skirted ukuleles dancing on a beach ("Uu is for ukuleles in unison") or a portrait of a pained-looking Mozart plugging his ears as a chorus belts out a melody. Each central image or theme is bolstered by a sprinkling of alphabetically related words. "Aa is for anthem," for instance, features an accordion player and Louis Armstrong alongside such words as "allegro," "alto" and "a cappella." Some of the drollery may be lost on the picture-book audience: "Bb is for Beatles," for example, features the "Bb" picked out in a groovy '60s font and three "bees" labeled "Bach," "Brahms" and "Beethoven" buzzing around the lads from Liverpool. Even so, there's plenty here for all to enjoy. All ages. (Sept.)