WOOD, Susan. Esquivel!: Space-Age Sound Artist. illus. by Duncan Tonatiuh. 32p. further reading. photos. websites. Charlesbridge. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781580896733.
Gr 2-6–Much as Juan García Esquivel (1918–2002) made a great contribution to music history, this title is an important addition to music biography collections. Beginning with Tampico, Mexico, the text and illustrations work together to showcase how a world filled with sound influenced and inspired a young Esquivel and continued to do so throughout his life. Esquivel is shown listening to “whirling” mariachi bands, modifying a player piano to suit his own compositions, experimenting with unusual instruments like the theremin, and conducting musicians in unique and unprecedented ways. The text explores how Esquivel’s love of sound led to new ways of making music, most notably in his pioneering of stereo sound and lounge music. Tonatiuh’s illustrations are lively and colorful—a perfect match for Esquivel’s personality and work. Occasional blocks of text make this title best suited for upper elementary students. Back matter includes an author’s note expanding on Esquivel’s influence and an illustrator’s note on how the art was created. VERDICT A beautiful addition to music biography collections for upper elementary students.–Shannan Hicks, J.S. Clark Elementary School Library, LA
This review was published in the School Library Journal September 2016 issue.