BOM! Went the Bear

Nicki Greenberg, Author
Nicki Greenberg. Allen & Unwin (IPG/Trafalgar Square, dist.), $14.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-74237-671-4
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There’s nothing catchier than a great beat, and as an orange bear pounds on his bass drum, other animals can’t help chiming in: “Giraffes hit the high notes/ Turtles sing low/ Clarinet quick-quick/ Saxophone s-l-o-w.” Greenberg’s spreads burst with color, energy, and song. The clarinetist is a bouncing rabbit, eyes squinting with exertion; a lavender koala strikes a soulful pose as it croons on the sax; and frogs with mallets practically fling themselves at a xylophone. But what’s this? As more animals join the chorus (“Look out!” screams a manic cockatoo, before a trio of pink elephants in top hats stomp onto the scene), the bear looks increasingly miserable, his bom, bom, boms drowned out by the cacophony. Greenberg (Monkey Red, Monkey Blue) introduces a host of animals and musical instruments, and the abundant sounds effects make for jubilant reading. But even more valuable and rare is the idea—made as clear as a triangle’s chime as the bear marches off by himself—is that happiness does not require being part of an ensemble. Playing solo is just fine. Ages 3–5. (Nov.)
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