Tallulah Plays the Tuba

Annick. Oct. 2019. 32p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781773213071.
PreS-Gr 2–More than anything, Tallulah wants to play the tuba in the school band. Though she can read music, has powerful lungs, and is equipped with strong muscles (enough to balance an oversized cat around her neck), Tallulah is tiny, while the tuba is clearly not. This does not stop her, however, from making every effort necessary to resolve the issue at hand: eating an added serving of everything, extending her limbs by hanging from the monkey bars an extra-long time, even stacking and climbing a mountain of music books in her teacher’s room. Tallulah does not give up, and ultimately fixes an otherwise enormous, oversized “problem” by digging a big hole in which to prop the instrument so that the mouthpiece fits her size perfectly. Tallulah’s sound reasoning is not that she is too “tiny,” but that the tuba is too “big.” Children should cherish Stone’s noteworthy message that most seemingly insurmountable challenges can be fixed with enough ingenuity and willpower. Many will appreciate that both Tallulah and the bandleader are both dark-skinned, while others in school are white. The illustrations are also perky and quirky, as represented by the main character’s diminutive size as she peers up at the music teacher and mounts a human pyramid to face the tuba head-on. This book will be appreciated by a wide and eclectic audience, not just those musically inclined. Children small in size will find Tallulah a fitting role model, and others will be inspired by her perseverance to succeed. The alliterative title also has an appealing ring to it.
VERDICT A resonant picture book treat with a worthy heroine that is recommended for wide purchase.

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