cover image Strum and Drum: A Merry Little Quest

Strum and Drum: A Merry Little Quest

Jashar Awan. Tundra, $18.99 (56p) ISBN 978-0-7352-7239-2

What do Christmas tree ornaments get up to when no one’s looking? In mixed-media artwork resembling cut-paper collage, Awan imagines just that, portraying a dreamy, candy-colored world in which adventure and danger lurk. One silent night, Strum and Drum wake from a deep sleep and, on guitar and drum, begin jamming as they travel “all the way to the Great Star in the north!” Their walk leads them past flickering lanterns, a silver waterfall that doesn’t get them wet, and glass bubbles that don’t pop. Not even a dire warning from a menacing Nutcracker can veer them off the jolly course as their band, portrayed with various skin tones, begins to grow. But when the warned-of beast makes a quick strike, Strum and Drum are flung away from the woods and into a new world—depicted in naturalistic black-and-white art—that will have readers quickly flipping back to the book’s beginning to launch the journey with fresh eyes. Brief text holds readers in suspense until the book delivers its revelatory twist in this festive nested story reminiscent of Pokko and the Drum. Ages 3–7. (Oct.)