Foreword Reviews

Briggsy's Time to Shine

Clarion Rating: 3 out of 5

Briggsy’s Time to Shine is an esteem-building picture book that is amplified by its lively artwork.

In Linda McKinley’s illustrated read-aloud tale, Briggsy’s Time to Shine, talking musical instruments deliver a fun and helpful message.

Today is a special day in Miss Poppy’s kindergarten music class: the children get to choose an instrument to play. Each instrument steps forward to share its distinct personality, but one instrument is hiding under a table. Briggsy the Tuba feels sad because the other instruments say he’s too big and too loud to play with them. Briggsy’s sure that none of the children will choose him, and he wishes he could be home with his mother and father.

Briggsy’s isolation is broken by the arrival of a new student, Paulo, who feels shy until he spies Briggsy sitting alone on a shelf. Paulo shouts with glee and explains that he played the tuba at his old school. As Paulo begins to play Briggsy, the students, Miss Poppy, and the other instruments listen and cheer, driving home a message that everyone has talents and abilities that make them special.

On a deeper level, Briggsy’s story reflects the discomfort of transitioning from the warmth and comfort of days spent at home into classrooms filled with strangers. The dichotomy between the loving assurances of Briggsy’s mother and his loneliness over being bullied is clear.

The idea that music is fun and something that everyone can enjoy is carried by the instruments, who have human features and friendly personalities. As the book is also an introduction to music, Miss Poppy shares stimulating information, such as about how woodwinds differ from percussion instruments, and how clarinets are sometimes referred to as licorice sticks.

Though it is text-heavy for a picture book, the book’s language is direct, as is its design. Splashes of color come even on text pages, while full-page color illustrations appear on every other page to bring Miss Poppy’s classroom to life. The instruments are memorably detailed: a French horn wears a beret, and Briggsy’s mother tucks him into a tuba case at night. When Briggsy feels sad, his face shows it, and his brows knit in misery. A picture on the schoolroom wall labeled “Adagio” shows a slow-paced turtle; one labeled “Allegro” shows a galloping horse.

Briggsy’s Time to Shine is an esteem-building picture book that is amplified by its lively artwork.

Reviewed by Susan Waggoner

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the publisher will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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