Two new titles get the nod from Kirkus

Songs in the Shade of the Cashew and Coconut Trees earns a Kirkus Star

Songs in the Shade of the Cashew and Coconut Trees: Lullabies and Nursery Rhymes from West Africa and the Caribbean will be out in October 2019! This enchanting collection of 23 traditional songs and rhymes, collected by Nathalie Soussana, pays homage to the rich cultural heritage and multilingual communities of West Africa and the Caribbean.

Kirkus Reviews has awarded this musical storybook with a Kirkus Star and an exciting review:

A chorus of drums, woodwinds, strings, creoles and indigenous languages will delight the ears at bedtime.

The rich sounds collected by Soussana travel between the West African coast and the Caribbean. From the dark and painful history of slavery and colonization, these lullabies give melody and rhythm to cultural values, traditions, fables, and familial struggles shared by the diaspora. “Lóba” speaks of the wonders of nature and calls on the people to protect it. “Oyiri Marie” tells the story of a hairdresser and a man who turns into a lion. In “Hormiguita Retozona,” an ant has every excuse not to help her mother do chores. The book provides further education on the languages spoken and a map of the countries represented; accompanying each song are the lyrics in both English and the original language, along with beautiful illustrations by Gueyfier. African and Afro-Caribbean children adorned in bright prints and patterns dance, play, sleep, and sing across the pages. Other songs have images of indigenous flora and fauna, city skylines, the sea, and the forest. The vibrant colors mirror the diversity of each country and ethnic group, and the tunes are catchy and easy to hum.

Readers will dance in their dreams.

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Kirkus celebrates Animal Musicians

A variety of creatures, from whales to wolves, cicadas to canaries, and even exotic animals like the sac-winged bat and the club-winged manakin, inspired Pedro Alcalde, the author of Animal Musicians. This 64-page “Audio Picture Book” includes information about the characteristics, habitats, and behaviors of 14 animal virtuosos, featuring humorous illustrations by Julio Antonio Blasco.

Anticipating this September 2019 book release, Kirkus provided some wonderful words:

Fourteen animal species—insects, frogs, birds, and mammals—are celebrated for their particular musical abilities.

From gibbons who sing at dawn in Southeast Asian treetops to club-winged manakins who strum their feathers in the Andean mountain forests, from humpback whales in ocean depths to male St. Andrews Cross spiders crossing the webs of potential mates, animals of all sorts make musical sounds with various parts of their bodies.

The author of this intriguing title is a Spanish composer, conductor, and musicologist whose understanding of music and musicianship opens a whole new window into the animal world.

Presented as a series of imagined album notes, two successive double-page spreads introduce each animal in several short paragraphs (main text and callouts with additional interesting facts) about the musical performances, how they are made, and the different sounds the creature can make—its repertoire, as it were. “Production credits” include the concert title, venue, time, length, and purported composer; for the superb lyrebird, for instance, these are: “Rainforest Remix,” the Rainforest Disco Club, winter, 20 minutes, and DJ Lyrebird.

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