cover image Little Stevie Wonder

Little Stevie Wonder

Quincy Troupe, , illus. by Lisa Cohen. . Houghton, $18 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-618-34060-6

Against a background of bold yellow and black, the dark glasses and snapping fingers of Stevie Wonder poke up from the lower left corner of the opening spread. "Isn't he lovely,/ this blind black boy/ born to love everyone?" begins this tribute, in a kind of riff on his famous song ("Isn't She Lovely?"). Bright, solid colors form a backdrop as readers view baby Stevie in a pram, and later, in balloon-like spot vignettes holding a radio, and playing drums and piano. Cohen's paintings convey a celebratory joyfulness; for instance, when Stevie signs his first Motown contract, the 13-year old appears against a yellow star on an orange background, the words, "Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day" in a purple banner overhead. The poem incorporates biographical information (including his work to establish Martin Luther King Jr's birthday as a national holiday and to better the lives of people with disabilities) as well as the names of Wonder's hit songs: "In Music of my Mind ,/ this beautiful voice/ who sings like an angel on Talking Book ,/ right before our eyes takes us to a 'Higher Ground.' " Such references may be most appreciated by those already familiar with his music, but Stevie's accomplishments and positive energy come through in the catchy text and electric-hued artwork (an author's note and timeline explain the meaning of many of the phrases and titles, too). A select discography and a CD that may well win Wonder a few new fans round out this energetic introduction to a musical great. Ages 5-9. (Apr.)