cover image Hosea Plays On

Hosea Plays On

Kathleen M. Blasi, illus. by Shane W. Evans. Sterling, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1454-9268-32

Based on the story of a beloved musician from Rochester, N.Y., this day-in-the-life tale by Blasi (A Name of Honor) introduces Hosea, a black street performer who saves the money he earns to buy band instruments for the children in his neighborhood. An author’s note supplies Hosea’s backstory, and the narrative shows Hosea exchanging greetings with his young neighbor Nate, who mimes playing his rake like a trumpet. Evans (Big Papa and the Time Machine) draws Hosea in bold indigo outlines as he shoos the pigeons away and begins to play. A woman asks how long he’s been playing: “This old thing?” he jokes. “Not as long as my first love... MISS/ CLARA/ NET.” His melodies swirl in soft candy curves and clouds, and he keeps on even when it starts to rain. The day’s takings put him past his goal, and he buys a trumpet for Nate. “Will you teach me, too?” Nate asks. “You ready to learn?” Hosea says. Hosea does more than just entertain; he makes his own community as he shares his music and his warmth. Ages 3–9. [em](Jan.) [/em]