cover image Rock ’n’ Roll Soul

Rock ’n’ Roll Soul

Susan Verde, illus. by Matthew Cordell. Abrams, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4197-2849-5

In Verde’s (I Am Yoga) latest, as all the student musicians at school gear up for the talent show, an exuberant girl makes her plans as well. She doesn’t play any instruments, but she’s confident in her talents: “I can make the music flow./ I can jam and put on a show./ I’ve got a Rock ’n’ Roll SOUL!” Actually, she’s genre-agnostic, paying tribute in the rhymes that follow to hip-hop, jazz, soul, folk, and classical music (“My body simply rises and floats/ when I’m part of those classical notes”). When the big day arrives, the narrator declares herself a “one-girl band” and announces to the packed house, “My greatest instrument is ME.” It’s definitely affirming and egalitarian, and the heroine’s appreciation for music is heartfelt—but young musicians (and their parents) may feel slightly miffed: there’s a lot more to musicianship than making a declaration. Fortunately, Cordell (Wolf in the Snow), the 2018 Caldecott Medalist, never misses a beat. Whether capturing his uninhibited heroine bopping down the street to the music in her headphones or crunching her cereal in rhythm, his pictures are knowing and funny, and they crackle with visual electricity. Ages 3–7. [em] Agent: Rosemary Stimola, Rosemary Stimola Literary Studio. (May) [/em]