April 24, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Pick of the Day: Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp!

Yellow book cover with boy playing trumpetMARSALIS, Wynton. Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp! illus. by Paul Rogers. 40p. Candlewick. Oct. 2012. Tr $15.99. ISBN 978-0-7636-3991-4.
PreS-Gr 1–Who better to lead children in a celebration of sound than jazz virtuoso Wynton Marsalis? From the “tluck…tlock” of a dripping faucet and the “Chrrick chrrrick” of toast being buttered to the noises of trucks, drums, and washboards, the musician gives voice to the sounds enveloping an African American boy throughout the day. The setting, established by the wrought iron balconies on the title page and furthered in contextual clues, is the birthplace of jazz (and Marsalis)–New Orleans. The retro style of the instruments on the endpapers will immediately connect readers familiar with Langston Hughes’s First Book of Jazz (Watts, 1955) to Cliff Roberts’s jaunty and decorative designs in that landmark introduction, adding another layer of appreciation. Rogers’s lively ink and digital illustrations, with strong black lines; a controlled palette; visual quotes from Roberts; and intent, closed-eyed musicians, echo and continue the rhythmic exploration. The font conveying the sounds sashays and slithers around the images; printed in orange, it varies in size and weight to indicate volume. In one dynamic spread, four “Pizzicato violinists plick-pluck licks,” with the one farthest away playing the softest (smallest) “tlick!” Floating against a white background, pictures and text read well from a distance; they practically call out for sharing with a group of eager noisemakers. The penultimate image is the boy with a horn, bringing to mind another famous New Orleans native. This exuberant articulation of sounds both subtle and grandiose is sure to inspire closer listening and creative responses.–Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library