cover image J.B.'s Harmonica

J.B.'s Harmonica

John Sebastian. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P, $13.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-15-240091-0

James Bear (aka J. B.) is delighted with his new harmonica and soon whiles away several happy hours practicing. But the discovery that he's a chip off the old musical block (his father is a concert harmonicist at Bearnegie Hall) and the inevitable attendant comments and comparisons create a flurry of concern. Worried that he may be losing his identity, J. B. puts away his harmonica. Finally, after his Dad points out that ``all of us have our very own song inside'' and that nobody expects the two of them to be just alike, J. B. can pursue his newfound love of music with confidence. First-time author (and noted musician) Sebastian spins a low-key, placidly paced tale with a valuable message about individuality. His understated prose is comfortably bolstered by the familiar style of Williams's almost tangibly fuzzy black-and-white illustrations. The book's unobtrusively handsome design makes this a classy package, with abundant white space, and the deep blue and burgundy hues of the jacket echoed in hand-drawn borders around the text. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)