Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Review: Rock Star Recess by Patrick Bagatta

Today's read swings into imagination and recess fun. I picked up this one because my own kids were School of Rock and Fancy Nancy fans. Plus, that cover is vibrant and energetic and so packed with promised chaos that it screams over-the-top entertainment. Since most picture book tend toward calmer tones, this one definitely catches attention. But lets just go ahead and see what it's about.

by Patrick Bagatta
Illustrated by Emily Mullock
Union Square Press
Picture Book
40 pages 
ages 4 to 8

School of Rock meets Fancy Nancy in this exuberant story about rock n' roll dreams colliding with the reality of elementary school.
Elsie’s music class has played Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star too many times, and she wants to try something new. When her music teacher suggests she “rock on her own time,” Elsie devises a plan. It’s recess, and the playground will make a great venue. Soon she and her best friends are setting up a stage. In true rock-star fashion, their band enlists classmates to help with hair and makeup, special effects, and security. They even host a press conference and an autograph session! Elsie has thought of everything to throw the most epic of recess rock concerts . . . or has she?


The amazing powers of imagination hit full-force, engulfing everything (as a kid's does) to form the best reality ever.

Still caught up in the joy of singing during class, Elsie knows exactly how to spend recess. Her and her friends are going to perform a rock concert. Thirty minutes seems short, but Elsie and her group have everything under control. Soon, make-up, autographs, stage crews, management and more are churning full-gear...until she realizes they forgot something extremely important.

Elise is a ball of energy...or maybe, calling her a small tornado is more appropriate. She's bursting with ideas and determination, and it's hard not to get caught up in her excitement. Her two friends stand at her side, offering words of advice and jumping into the swirl with as much commitment as Elsie. It's an atmosphere packed with positive vibes, energy, and drive to inspire and make a listener/reader smile.

Of course, this is completely over the top and impossible in any twist of reality, except for the imagination. But any child with an active one will know (and their parents, who try to get their attention) that the world disappears. So, while some scenes made me raise an eyebrow, I remembered my own 'spy adventures' as a kid and can only say that these pages hit spot on. The writing is very natural and slides some comments in for a tiny bit of food for thought along the way. 

And there's the message, which rides through like a show, but then, this is about a show. It's not preachy and simply rounds off the story, while staying present enough to be noticed. 

This is a cute read, which will grab attention when read-aloud or revisited by the reader to gaze at the vibrant illustrations. I don't see this one as being one to read again and again and again, but it's definitely worth a fun visit and could make a nice start to a series. I can imagine that Elsie and her friends have quite a few more ideas waiting to be placed into action.


Heather N. Quinn said...

I was in a rock band in 4th grade: The Wipeouts. LOL! It was 1974, and we thought we were pretty cool with our painted guitars cut out of chipboard and drums made from commercial ice cream tubs made of cardboard. We used to 'play' along with current pop music. Remember Three Dog Night's Joy to the World? That was our big number. We played in front of our school and got a standing ovation. Ah, memories. :D

Tonja Drecker said...

Wow! You lived the dream...maybe, inspiration for a future book scene now?