cover image Caribbean Carnival: Songs of the West Indies

Caribbean Carnival: Songs of the West Indies

Irving Burgie. Tambourine Books, $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-688-10779-6

Even the art has rhythm in this splendid book of calypso songs. Burgie, who wrote music and lyrics for such seemingly ageless songs as ``Day-O'' (``Daylight come and me wan' go home'') and ``Jamaica Farewell'' (``Down the way, where the nights are gay . . . ''), shares four of his liveliest works as well as his piano and guitar arrangements for nine Caribbean folksongs. Lessac ( Caribbean Canvas ; My Little Island ) captures the infectious beat in dynamic gouache paintings that demonstrate both a dramatic color sense and a fondness for pattern--everything in her primitive-style pictures appears to be dancing. In the varied layout, each title is set against eyecatching horizontal borders that echo the song's themes. Sultry tropical light bathes this book; it's both exotic and refreshing. A helpful afterword by Rosa Guy outlines a history of calypso music. Ages 6-up. (Sept.)