Potter’s prose and Tavares’s paintings deliver a rousing performance themselves—the sea of humanity packed into the Temple of Peace as the concert begins is breathtaking, and a testament to the immense power of music.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Potter maintains suspense throughout—no concert this large had ever been attempted, and critics were vehement that it could only produce cacophony. Tavares’ watercolor-and-gouache paintings magnificently capture crowds, street scenes, and individual expressions, while the typeface makes the individual instrumental and street sounds leap from the page. It’s just as Potter writes at the book’s end: “So very, very LOUD! And so very, very beautiful.”
While Gilmore is not well-known among today’s audiences, Potter offers a refreshing and episodic view of his life and contributions to American culture. An extensive author’s note provides more depth to the legacy left by such an influential figure, whose musical contributions have unfortunately been overshadowed by the accomplishments of his contemporaries. Tavares’s bright and cheerful artwork illustrates Gilmore’s inspiration from everyday sounds while evoking the lighthearted ebullience of the power of music. This is both a tribute to one man’s talent and an insightful look at a different period of history.
—School Library Journal
Potter employs a direct, accessible narration to describe the years of painstaking preparation and carefully builds anticipation for the main event. Words that represent sounds stand out in large bold type of varying designs; they are incorporated into Tavares’ illustrations, rendered in softly hued watercolor, gouache, ink and pencil. … Lovingly evokes a lost time.
The audacious scope of the jubilee, precursor and, no doubt, rival to thunderous arena rock, is a natural hook for young listeners, who will be surprised to learn that their staid ancestors also appreciated musical excess.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
The book’s text is geared towards young children, with short sentences and simple words. Ending pages offer additional information on Gilmore and his contributions. This book fits well with music and history classes, and the moral of sticking with one’s dreams.
—Library Media Connection