Symphony City tells the story of a young girl on her way to a concert in the big city, but she gets lost on the way. Being lost in city can be lonely and frightening, but when the girl starts to hear music coming to her, she finds her way back. The wonderful part is how the music finds her; using rain and trees and birds and many other parts of the city to come to life. Of course seeing these things is another way to describe how music sounds, and if you hear music the way that Amy Martin describes it you must enjoy immensely. The book is oversized, a bit larger than the normal picture book dimensions, and all the space is used effectively. The block printing highlighted with red ink has so much life and texture that you can almost feel the music under your fingers when you run them over the page. I’m not quite sure why the set up of the book involves the main character being lost, but it does make the journey toward music have a lot of meaning. This is one of the first books from a new McSweeney’s imprint, McMullen’s. You should keep an eye on those guys over there!
written and illustrated by Amy Martin
McSweeney’s McMullens, 2011