cover image The Loudest, Fastest, Best Drum

The Loudest, Fastest, Best Drum

Marguerite W. Davol. Scholastic, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-531-30191-3

Davol (The Paper Dragon) finds a happy beat with this boisterous story of a girl driven to drum. Maggie, the pride of Serena, Kansas, was born a drummer--her doctor ascribes her predetermined vocation to the Fourth of July parade, led by the Kansas Drum and Bugle Corps, that marched right past the Serena Hospital at the moment of her birth. All signs point to her calling: Maggie bangs in her crib, on her high chair and all over the house, prompting Mama's pleas: ""Stop, Maggie. My aching ears!"" Things get rock 'n' rolling when Maggie receives her first real drum set at age six. Her ""Brumm-brumm-brammity-BRUMM, BRUMM, BRUMM"" proves loud enough to sink sidewalks, shatter windows and disgruntle the mayor, who quickly outlaws drumming. But when Maggie's ""music"" drives away a potentially deadly tornado, the mayor and the townspeople happily proclaim her the ""loudest, fastest, best drummer in the State of Kansas."" Davol delivers the good fun of a tall tale, though mid-book her plot starts to meander, slowing the dramatic momentum. Smith (Nine for California) employs a creamy gouache palette for her chipper yet quaint renderings of small-town USA from days gone by. Maggie's red hair, confident grin and sporty cowboy/marching boots suggest her true spitfire nature. Ages 5-9. (Mar.)