Rating: 1- 5 (5 is excellent or a Starred review) 5
Genre: Picture Book Biography
What did you like about the book? This is a picture book biography of the man who became known as Esquivel!, famous for pioneering the lounge sound of the 1950s and 1960s as well as stereo sound. Born in Mexico, Juan Garcia Esquivel, was entranced with the music of mariachi bands and became a self-taught pianist. At the age of ten, he was working as a piano player for Mexico’s 24-hour radio station and by seventeen he was an orchestra leader. Juan loved to incorporate all types of sound into his music, experimenting with tempo and dynamics. The illustrations perfectly complement the tone of the story. The collage illustrations incorporate texture and photographic elements while the images are inspired by ancient Mexican art which depicts figures only in profile. Hand-lettered sound words, “PA-BA-BA-BA-BA!” “Bumpa Booda Dumpa Bum!” swirl among the images. This is a glorious book about the creative process and music. An “Author’s Note” gives more in-depth information about Equivel!, while an “Illustrator’s Note” includes information on the inspiration for the art. The “Resources” page includes books, websites and video links. A full-page photograph of Esquivel! completes the book. This is a wonderfully vivid and inspiring story of the life of this “space-age sound artist” from his childhood, through his success in the United States and the rediscovery of his music in the 1990s.
Anything you didn’t like about it? No
To whom would you recommend this book? This is a book to share with children interested in music and musicians. It’s a wonderful choice for music teachers to use in class.
Who should buy this book? Public libraries and elementary school libraries
Where would you shelve it? Biographies
Should we (librarians/readers) put this at the top of our “to read” piles? Yes
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA
Date of review: 1/25/17