Dan Zanes’ House Party!: A Family Roots Music Treasury
This beautifully conceived “Treasury” is a treasure, indeed. Designed for maximum eye appeal, with Donald Saaf’s whimsical illustrations and an eye-pleasing mix of whimsical fonts, it is a substantial, spiral-bound book loaded with musical notations by Claudia Eliaza and lyrics of Zanes’ original songs and traditional tunes grouped together under such categories as “Blow Ye Winds,” Songs of Wonder & Waves”; “Red Bird,” Songs of Dust & Sunshine,” “Midnight Train,” Songs of Childhood & Morning Dreams,” etc.) There’s much more, too. The selections feature background narratives, Zanes’ personal reminiscences, an introductory note to educators, suggestions for performance, ways to use the songs as inspiration for creating new ones, and other engagingly written commentary. The content is deepened further with essays about the value of communal music-making and lists of music to listen to and books to read, thoughtfully chosen to relate to each song. A keeper.
Lynne Heffley ©2019 Parents’ Choice
A freelance writer and editor for the arts and non-profit organizations, Lynne is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she established the paper’s first weekly children’s arts and entertainment beat.