Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Friday, April 25, 2014


Jubilee!: One Man's Big, Bold, and Very, Very Loud Celebration of Peace 
by Alicia Potter
illustrated by Matt Tavares
Candlewick Press, 2014
ISBN: 9780763658564
Grades 2-5

The reviewer borrowed a copy of the book from her school library.

I enjoy reading informational books about people and events I have never heard of before. I find it exciting to learn about little known figures and historical events. Jubilee! is a book about a musician and an event that I knew nothing about. It turns out the author, Alicia Potter, had never heard of Patrick Gilmore and his Jubilee Celebration of Peace either until she read an article in a local newspaper in Boston.

Alicia Potter, author of Mrs. Harkness and the Panda, teamed up with illustrator Matt Tavares to create this stunning picture book biography about a musician who decided to act in a big, bold manner to celebrate peace. Potter's engaging narrative tells the story of Irish immigrant Patrick Gilmore who was a bandleader and accomplished musician living in Boston in the 1800s. During the Civil War, he joined the Union as the bandleader for the army band. Upon returning from the war Gilmore wanted to do something huge to honor the soldiers and celebrate peace. He decided to organize a four-day peace jubilee centered around music in 1869. Children will be amazed by the size of the event Gilmore planned. 1,000 musicians and 10,000 singers performed at the Jubilee. So many people were involved that a new venue needed to be constructed in Boston in just three months to accommodate the musicians and audience members.

Tavares's watercolor, ink, gouache and pencil illustrations make readers feel like they are in 1800s. Onomatopoeia is effectively incorporated into the illustrations bringing an energy to the story; the words are set apart in large, colorful letters. WAA! SHREET! TOOT! BOOM!

Librarians should purchase Jubilee! for the biography section. It's sure to appeal to anyone who loves history, music and anything over-the-top! Display Jubilee! with other books about peace such as Wangari's Trees of Peace or create a music display along with Ballet for Martha.

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