Drummer Boy of John John

By School Library Journal

Lessac’s vibrant gouache scenes in her signature folk style radiate the energy of the music and the lushness of Trinidad. As the author introduces each group of musicians, he spells out their unique sounds–an invitation for listeners to repeat the refrains. So the Chac-chac (gourds with seeds) players produce a “shoush-shap/shukka-shac/shoush-shap/shukka-shac.” Munching on a mango near the junkyard, Winston ponders his dilemma; a casual toss of the pit against metal objects produces the “pong, ping, pang” that leads to a solution. He discovers that the number of dents and bumps and the size of the metal container all affect the pitch. Friends gather to paint, rehearse, perform, and celebrate victory. The finale pulses with color and pattern. A bit of colloquial speech adds flavor, as do the humorous visuals, such as the matron in her pink plastic curlers. A glossary, two-page author’s note, and list of sources round out this upbeat celebration of creativity.