cover image Hurricane Music

Hurricane Music

Barbara Bottner. Putnam Publishing Group, $15.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22544-4

Bottner (Bootsie Barker Bites) gives new meaning to the term ``wind instrument'' with this idiosyncratic outing. Aunt Margaret, a late-blooming musician, uses her clarinet to mimic sounds in the environment, from animal noises to a locomotive's chugging. When Hurricane Gladys comes inland, Margaret is thrilled: ``Thundering horses couldn't keep me from jamming with a hurricane!'' But the tempest upsets her tempo, and the clarinet blows away. The music dries up, until Margaret's narrating niece buys her aunt a harmonica, Hurricane Harold hits town and the prodigal clarinet returns. Bottner colors her prose by giving Margaret such pronouncements as ``Gotta dance, gotta sing, gotta do my thing-a-ling'' and ``Sanctifying Satchmo!'' There's even a hint of magic: the weather grows ominous when Margaret plays a hot riff, and calms during soothing melodies. Yalowitz's (Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch) muted, grainy hues and orderly compositions, while unconventional, restrain the action, a startling contrast to the whirlwind plot. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)