Review

Booklist - A Tuba Christmas

Cover: A Tuba Christmas

Even though—or perhaps because—everyone else in her family plays strings or reeds, for better or worse, Ava takes up tuba. At first it’s definitely “worse,” as her sibs give her a hard time, her parents suggest something more portable, like flute, and her initial bbbwwWWWAHHHHHs and bOOOoooooooffffffffs make the neighbor’s dog howl. Just as she’s about to quit, her teacher Rodney’s invitation to perform in an upcoming holiday concert renews her determination, and she joins an all-tuba band for music—“low and round and rich”—that converts her family and the rest of the skeptical audience into cheering fans. Uhles stocks her watercolor illustrations with a diverse cast (Ava’s parents are an interracial couple, Rodney a young African American man in dreadlocks) and leads up to a terrific climactic view of the band members and their instruments alike decked fetchingly in Christmas decorations. Wilbur concludes this sweet blast of holiday cheer with shout-outs to the instrument and also to the tradition of actual holiday tuba concerts that began with one at Rockefeller Center in 1974.

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