Cada Niño/Every ChildCada Niño / Every Child

Texas Sheet Music

Phases & Stages

Cada Niño/Every Child

By Tish Hinojosa,

illustrated by Lucia Angela Perez

Cinco Puntos Press, 56 pp., $18.95 Part songbook, part picture book, part autobiography, Tish Hinojosa's first book for children, Cada Niño/Every Child, is as warm and wonderful as fresh baked bread slathered with honey butter. Patterned after her 1996 album (also titled Cada Niño), Hinojosa's songbook is a welcome companion to the earlier CD. The bilingual songs include full musical notations, while the album's liner notes serve as introductory text -- short, thoughtful morsels by Hinojosa about the origin of the song, or why it's important to her. Replacing the children's drawings that decorated the liner notes, lavish illustrations by Fort Worth artist Lucia Angela Perez bring the songbook to life. Inherent in Hinojosa's music is a sense of play, a sense of remembering the joy of childhood without preciousness. Perez's work has the same quality, making the pairing of Hinojosa with Perez's illustrations as perfect as hot fudge sauce on vanilla ice cream. Perez's sometimes amusing, sometimes wistful, colorful art makes Cada Niño a feast for the eyes and ears -- if you can read music. That's not to say the book is incomplete without the Cada Niño CD (sold separately by Rounder Kids Records). However, listening to the album with the book brings a deeper level of enjoyment. On the other hand, it's probably just as much fun to make up your own tunes, inspired by Perez's lively drawings. Heck, you don't need kids to enjoy the words and illos to songs like "El Baile Vegetal/The Barnyard Dance": "When old man cucumber struck up that number, little turnip top did the backwards flop. The cabbage shook the shimmy and could not stop. The little red beet shook his feet ... down at the barnyard dance." If this book doesn't bring a smile to your face, then you have a stone for a heart.

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