Musical ABC

Sunbird. Feb. 2022. 32p. Tr $9.99. ISBN 9781503762862.
PreS-K–Each page of this cheery concept book presents an animal and a musical instrument in alliterative pairs: “F is for flamingo with a French horn,” “M is for mongoose with a mandolin,” “T is for turtle with a tambourine.” The gently stylized illustrations, rendered in a smooth pastel color palette, depict smiling animal performers sporting an array of garments, from kerchiefs to kimonos, from ponchos to porkpie hats, from tweed jackets to tuxedos. The anthropomorphic musicians stand against solid color backgrounds, surrounded by floating musical notes and treble clefs, visual representations of their merry tunes. Alongside piano, guitar, violin, and other mainstays of the European classical tradition, Briscoe includes non-Western instruments such as ektara, ipu, nai, quena, yueqin, and zumari, many of which may be new to some readers. This approach is hardly novel—for a strikingly similar treatment, see Ailie Busby’s work in The ABC of Musical Instruments. However, the execution is pleasant and may well add the names of a few instruments to readers’ vocabularies.
VERDICT An appealing if familiar, presentation of an enjoyable topic.

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