cover image Window Music

Window Music

Anastasia Suen. Viking Books, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-670-87287-9

""Window music"" is 1880s railroad slang for passing scenery, and an impressive range of views is what this visual tour delivers. As a girl travels from her grandparents' house back to her home, Suen's (Man on the Moon) simple rhyming couplets--""train on the track/ clickety clack""; ""in a row/ oranges grow""--evoke the rhythm of travel, and offer glancing descriptions of a varied terrain that includes banana trees, an ocean beach and city skyscrapers. In his first picture book, Zahares uses thickly applied paint and strong, geometric forms to create scenery that looks almost sculpted. A wave resembles a curl of plaster; a grape arbor is a tangle of thick wiry tendrils and bulging fruit; the train winds through the very peaks of conical snow-dripped mountains. The trip begins and ends in a docile, realistic station, but in between, the journey takes some surreal turns. This magical excursion is music with several movements, returning readers to a familiar theme in the final stanzas. Ages 3-8. (Sept.)