A beautifully realised city inhabited by musical instruments
A search for one’s place in the world provides the storyline: The narrator, a drum, feels like an outcast because he alone—unlike his family and friends—cannot play a melody. Like all kids growing up, he must find out where he fits.
The narrator, a drum, wanders the streets of Coelho’s vividly realised city of musical instruments—where even the birds sprout miniature trumpets from their mouths—feeling like an outcast because he alone, among all his family and neighbours, can’t play a melody. He adores his violin brother, cello father and piano mother but feels he has nothing to offer to their music.
"My father is Cello, and oh, what a fellow. The tone of his laugh is low, smooth and mellow. But me? My name’s Drum. BOOM-CLACK, RAT-A-TAT. My head is a snare and I wear a hi-hat. My stomach’s a bass drum, my arms are drumsticks and my only song is CLICK-CLACK, CLACK-CLICK".
But one day a trio of saxophones ask him to join their band and what they tell him gives him an epiphany "So that’s what a drum does! I now understand. I don’t carry a tune; I carry a band". But he must still prove it to himself, and that takes all his courage.
Loubriel’s story of bravery and identity, infused with Latin rhythms and joy, provides a fine vehicle for Coelho’s vibrant technique and palette. Coelho’s city of music bursts with exuberance. In backmatter, Loubriel, a lifelong drummer, explains how the drum kit lays a song’s foundation. The bass drum is the heartbeat; the hi hat is the dynamic metronome; the snare drum is the drum kit’s singer.