cover image MUSIC IS


Lloyd Moss, , illus. by Philippe Petit-Roulet. . Putnam, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-23336-4

At its best, this tribute to the soul-lifting power of music rings out with snappy, cleverly conceived rhymes and the playful visual rhythms of the French artist's stylized gouaches. But the tone varies considerably. Moss (Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin) delivers an uncharacteristically flat opener: "Music fills our lives with magic;/ music is a wondrous thing./ Music bright or music tragic,/ music makes you cry or sing." Elsewhere, his sophisticated, catchy rhymes casually juggle jargon into melodies of their own: "Tango, rumba, cha-cha, mambo, music with a hip-hop beat./ Any number, any combo, gets me up and on my feet." Petit-Roulet's eye-catching art depicts wiry-bodied cartoon characters who sport Pinocchio-length noses and, sometimes, yellow or blue skin. Spreads and compact vignettes (which complement the small trim size) envision diverse musical events, from operas to parades. Vivid red and cobalt clothing punctuates the more subtle lime green, peach and pale yellow backdrops, while the type dances up and down the page, visually echoing the text (e.g., when Moss writes that "Brass or strings, when played with brio,/ lift my spirits to the sky," the words in the last line stairstep up the spread). Jazzy endpapers feature graphic, color silhouettes of various instruments. Ages 5-up. (May)