Music Is a Rainbow

Little, Brown. Jun. 2022. 48p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780316537421.
K-Gr 3–With tender illustrations conveying deep love and family ties, this book speaks directly to the heart. Collier creates a connection between family love and the power of music, using a refrain of a father’s memorable advice in a comforting rhythm: “Leave room for that rainbow to find you. Broken is beautiful.” In this context, music is the rainbow that helps guide a lonely young boy, following the death of his mother and his own increasing isolation, through troubled times and bad decisions. Several times, as he is about to embark on true trouble, his father’s words wash over him, and he makes different choices. The watercolor paintings and vivid collages give readers a clear picture of the daily struggles and upheaval resulting from an unexpected separation. The illustrations are stunning, and readers will want to spend extra time enjoying their message. An author’s note traces Collier’s inspiration to three sources: “world-class poet, artist, and activist” Maya Angelou; the well-known poem “The Road Not Taken” by beloved American poet Robert Frost; and supernova Quincy Jones, “a renowned musician, producer, and humanitarian.”
VERDICT When presented with difficult choices, music provides the focus and motivation for a boy to live up to a father’s advice and remember his mother’s love in this necessary paean to familial love.

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