cover image The Green Piano: How Little Me Found Music

The Green Piano: How Little Me Found Music

Roberta Flack with Tonya Bolden, illus. by Hayden Goodman. Random House/Schwartz, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-5934-7987-2

Music proves “My treasure./My gold” in this autobiographical picture book centering singer Roberta Flack (b. 1937). Raised without “fancy-fine clothes,/ high-priced toys,/ or other richy-rich/ things,” Flack grew up in a musical household in Asheville, N.C., “tap-tap-tapp[ing] out tunes/ on tabletops,/ windowsills,” and dreaming of owning a piano. After the family moves to Green Valley, Va., Flack’s father spots an “old, ratty, beat-up, weather-worn, faded” piano in a junkyard, and as he fixes it up and paints it a “grassy green,” Flack’s dreams swell from piano lessons to a whole life “wrapped up in/ the majesty,/ the magic/ of music.” Focusing on childhood dreams realized through persistence and effort, Flack and Bolden employ spare, matter-of-fact verse to share the story of this initial piano and the hope it represented. Goodman’s digitally finished gouache portraits highlight young Flack and her piano with pops of green and gold, while swirling tendrils of color represent musical sound. An author’s note and “career highlights” timeline conclude. Ages 4–8. (Jan.)