cover image MY MOUNTAIN SONG


Shutta Crum, , illus. by Ted Rand. . Clarion, $16 (31pp) ISBN 978-0-618-15970-3

Family, feelings and life on the farm make pleasant music together as the themes in Crum's (Spitting Image ) debut picture book. When middle child Brenda Gail gets to spend the summer, all by herself, on her great-grandparents' mountain homestead, her days brim with the hum of the country—roosters crowing, dogs barking, a screen door that "swishes open and snaps closed," and Gran Pap's special mountain song. Gran Pap explains that everyone 'round those parts—even Brenda Gail—has their own song, full of good memories and "things you like about the mountains." But Brenda Gail's thoughts of composing her own tune come to a screeching halt when her pesky cousin Melvin arrives on the scene. Bickering and tussling ensue, resulting in the accidental injury of one of the family's prized hens. This wake-up call inspires healing, reflection and good fodder for a song. Crum hits some sweet notes while portraying believable childhood emotions and warm intergenerational relationships. Rand's (The Memory String ) bucolic watercolor scenery includes elegantly plumed fowl, a comfy wooden porch and, fittingly, some sweeping vistas of purple mountain majesties. Ages 5-8. (May)