songs by Irving Burgie
illus.by Frané Lessac
Tambourine Books (William Morrow)/USA Macmillan/UK
New York Public Library Choice-100 Best Books 1993 Notable Trade Book in Social Studies (NCSS/CBC) Bank Street College – Children’s Books of the Year List USA.
Even the art has rhythm in this splendid book of calypso songs. Burgie, who wrote music and lyrics for such seemingly ageless songs as “Day-O” (“Daylight come and me wan’ go home”) and “Jamaica Farewell” (“Down the way, where the nights are gay . . . “), shares four of his liveliest works as well as his piano and guitar arrangements for nine Caribbean folksongs. Lessac (Caribbean Canvas; My Little Island) captures the infectious beat in dynamic gouache paintings that demonstrate both a dramatic color sense and a fondness for pattern–everything in her primitive-style pictures appears to be dancing.
In the varied layout, each title is set against eyecatching horizontal borders that echo the song’s themes. Sultry tropical light bathes this book; it’s both exotic and refreshing. A helpful afterword by Rosa Guy outlines a history of calypso music.
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