The Green Piano: How Little Me Found ­Music

­Random/Anne Schwartz. Jan. 2023. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593479872.
Gr 2-5–With lilting text and stunning art, Flack’s lovely autobiographical picture book highlights little Roberta’s passion for music and the love of a family with little means who supported their daughter’s big dreams. “I’d use my elbows on the ebonies/ because my fingers were too short./ Mother and Daddy were so tickled by that—/ and so proud too.” The rhythmic and inviting narrative shares how her father found an upright in the junkyard, rescued it, and painted it green. The rest is history. In her picture book debut, Goodman’s mixed-media illustrations are dazzling; there is joy on every page. From cozy family scenes to expansive skyscapes, light shines through in each spread. Curvy lines lend a feeling of musicality and wholeness to the art. Back matter includes an author’s note expanding on Flack’s musical career, from teaching music at a junior high school to being discovered as pianist and singer at the restaurant she worked at part-time to recording her first album in 1969 and the Roberta Flack Foundation. It also features a list of career highlights, including mentions of her well-known “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” and “Killing Me Softly with His Song.”
VERDICT A warm, soulful picture book autobiography about a living legend that will inspire burgeoning artists to pursue their dreams no matter their circumstances.

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