cover image Double Bass Blues

Double Bass Blues

Andrea J. Loney, illus. by Rudy Gutierrez. Knopf, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5247-1852-7

A young double bass player faces obstacles en route to his grandfather’s house in this visual ode to the blues. Resting his cheek alongside melodic vibrations emanating from the instrument, Nic, who is black, seems harmoniously connected to his music. After a teacher applauds the performance, the diverse band packs up (“Epic solo, Nic!”) and heads out (“Catch you later!”). But Nic faces quite a commute outside the band room’s peace. With silent determination, he scales a suburban fence (“Ooof!”), faces a growling dog (“Grrrrrrrr!”), and navigates a bustling cityscape that drips with inclement weather (“Plunk, plunk, plunk”) and public commentary (“It’s bigger than him!” two children laugh, pointing at the bass). Persisting through storm and ridicule, Nic finally arrives at his grandfather’s city building—only to find the elevator out. But his celebrated arrival, at a loving, musical oasis not dissimilar from the practice room, offers him the space to make music based on his journey’s travails. Sparse, onomatopoeic text by Loney (Bunnybear) and vibrant, cubist-style art by Gutierrez (Mama and Me) combine to create a harmony of sound and emotion through a child’s journey, his family’s warmth, and music’s restorative powers. Ages 4–8. [em](Oct.) [/em]