I found the most interesting picture book about saxophones. Well, not so much about the instrument itself but how it all came to be. You see, The Story of the Saxophone is not as dull as you would think. And it did not start with the people who are famous for playing it. No, it started in the 1840s in Belgium of all places. Somehow, this odd looking contraption would make it across the ocean to Mexico and finally to New Orleans where Sidney Bechet and Charlie Parker, to name a few, would make it wail and jump and jive! You do not have to be into music to enjoy this book, but it is a nice companion to a music and/or history collection.
Lesa Cline-Ransome tells the story of Joseph-Antoine Adolphe Sax, a young boy with a big imagination and a lot of bad luck. He liked to invent things and he would experiment with this and that until the sound was just right and the saxophone was born. We follow young Sax throughout the years, having to prove himself multiple times, having to overcome sabotage, and people thinking they knew more about music than this odd little man. And he would overcome bankruptcy, and more. Granted, he would never become as famous as the people who made the instrument famous, but without him, music would not be what it is today.
The art of James E. Ransome is lush and bold. Their signature style is all over the place. Their colors are earthy and keep things exciting, when there really is no real action. The details are busy and fun. There is a lot going on, and it is all important, just not necessarily the main thing to focus on as it is the entire picture we are presented with. The art adds to the cleverness of the subject and the text.