BCCB: “As Wood and Tonatiuh Demonstrate in This Picture-Book Biography, Being Part of Juan Garcia Esquivel Fandom Could Be Insanely Cool"


Fantabulous review of Esquivel! Space-Age Sound Artist in the University of Illinois’s Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Here’s a taste: 

A kid’s got to be careful in admitting a taste for grandparents’ music. Mick Jagger is acceptable, and Aretha Franklin’s not too embarrassing—and as Wood and Tonatiuh demonstrate in this picture-book biography, being part of Juan Garcia Esquivel fandom could be insanely cool…. Wood describes not only the quirkiness of his instrumentation but also how Esquivel arrived on the scene just in time to take advantage of new recording techniques and stereophonic sound separation, and how he was able to make a home in a range of sonic media, from Las Vegas stage shows, to television and movies, and of course, vinyl…. For kids who haven’t heard Esquivel, they’ll need more incentive, and Wood brings it. Her closing note focuses on the 1990s resurgence of interest in Esquivel’s recordings, which segues happily into the current rediscovery of the pleasures of vinyl. Tonatiuh reprises the Maya-influenced style audiences may recognize from Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras, but he infuses its formality with some freewheeling text and swirling motif design suggestive of Sean Qualls. The Resources page...concentrates on websites of Esquivel interviews and YouTube performances virtually guaranteed to secure the late orchestra leader a fresh following. Let the downloads begin.

Reviewer Elizabeth Bush totally gets Esquivel's music, and exactly why this book was written about him—zu-zu-POW!!!

© Susan Wood 2018