Monday, March 18, 2013

'Drummer Boy of John John' by Mark Greenwood


Carnival is coming, and the villagers of John John, Trinidad, are getting ready to jump up and celebrate with music, dancing, and a parade. Best of all, the Roti King has promised free rotis-tasty fried pancakes filled with chicken, herbs, and spices-for the best band in the parade.

Young Winston dreams of feasting on those delicious rotis. But there's a problem: he's not in a band! Pondering his predicament as he wanders through the village junkyard, Winston makes a curious musical discovery that may be just the ticket to realizing his dream. With ingenuity and the help of his friends, Winston takes on the Carnival bands, drumming his way to victory-and to the Roti King's prized treat.

Musical text and sun-drenched paintings joyously transport readers to the Caribbean, and to this exuberant story inspired by the early life of Winston "Spree" Simon, a pioneer in the development of the steel drum.

**My Thoughts**

The illustrations in this book inspired by real events capture the excitement of Carnival. Words added to the pages help to further illustrate the various sounds that can be created by different drums. Learn new words and phrases by visiting the glossary in the back. There is also a brief biography of the late Winston "Spree" Simon, who is the real-life inspiration for this book.

By simply tossing a mango pit in a junkyard, Winston realizes that nontraditional items can make for some awesome instruments. His fellow villagers quickly join in the fun and a new tradition is born. Kids will love reading this book and then looking for their own ways of making new instruments from everyday materials. It is also a fun look at a different culture that could inspire a Carnival within the classroom or at home. It's a great addition to a classroom or home library.

I received a complimentary eARC in exchange for my honest review.

Visit author Mark Greenwood's website:

Visit illustrator Frane Lessac's website:  

1 comment:

  1. My son always beat on every thing he could ever find to pretend he had drums. He grew up to be a guitarist. Always loved music.

    Dropping by from A to Z Challenge. This will be my first year participating.

    Brett Minor
    Transformed Nonconformist