In My Neighborhood by Oscar Loubriel, illustrated by Rogerio Coehlo

In My Neighborhood by Oscar Loubriel, illustrated by Rogerio Coehlo. Tilbury House, 2021.  9780884487012

Rating: 1- 5 (5 is excellent or a Starred review) 4

Format:  Hardcover

Genre:  Picture book

What did you like about the book?   In this vivid, imaginative story, a fantastical city is inhabited by musical instruments.  The story is narrated by Drum, who feels left out of his family who can all play melodies.  His mom is Piano, his brother is Violin, and his dad is Cello.  “I can’t play a tune. There’s no music in me. In this city of song I have no melody.”  Then Drum meets the saxophone brothers and realizes that they need him to provide the rhythm and tempo.  Drum has so much fun playing the jazzy swing music as he realizes “I don’t carry a tune; I carry the band.”  Finally having found his place in the music, Drum is happy when his family joins in with the band.  The rhyming text is filled with color and tempo, with Drum’s sound repeating throughout “Boom-Boom, Clack-Clack, Rat-a-Tat.”  The wonderful illustrations are filled with expression and movement as musical notes float through the city and even the birds have trumpet-like beaks.  The author’s note explains the author’s career as a drummer began in his musical family in Puerto Rico.  This is a wonderful story about finding one’s unique talent. 

Anything you didn’t like about it?  No

To whom would you recommend this book?  This is a story for budding musicians that illustrates the importance of each instrument in a song.  It  is also a good choice for units on self-esteem.

Who should buy this book?  Public and elementary school libraries

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this at the top of our “to read” piles?  No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City:  Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

Date of review:  September 23, 2021 

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