Music Is… by Brandon Stosuy and Illustrated by Amy Martin

I received a review copy from the publisher. No other compensation was received.


Music Is… is a gorgeous board book told in opposites that celebrates a wide variety of musical concepts, instruments, and the people that enjoy them.

Beautifully contrasted bright images of people with headphones, bass drums, pots and pans, harps, tambourines, french horns, cassette tapes, records, tubas, banjos, guitars, electric and upright pianos, harpsichords, and cymbals all introduce and reinforce musical concepts while adroitly teaching basic opposites of quiet, loud, slow, fast, sad, happy, one, many etc.  As you continue to read, you come across more complex musically-related opposites such as lo-fi, hi-fi, a capella, instrumental, acoustic, and electric.

The words are so lyrical, so well-composed, and feel so good to read that they could easily be sung aloud. The verse has such a natural flow that it’ll make you feel like this is the only way it could have ever been written.


From Music Is… by Brandon Stosuy and Illustrated by Amy Martin. Image used with permission.

The refined and striking illustrations are uncluttered and yet vivacious. They make for a perfect balance of fun and beauty. They’re playful and make you smile, they make you curious, and they highlight the underlying concept of opposites so smoothly — they’re a symphony unto themselves.

Music Is has an impressively inclusive cast of people from diverse races, cultures, genders, and ages. When you get to the phrase,”music is for everyone / music is for you” — you don’t just feel like you’ve been told that music is for everyone, you’ve also been unquestionably shown.

So, yeah… You could say I’m impressed with this book.  It’s intelligence, simplicity, and elegance engage and impress my two-year-old and six-year-old sons as easily as they do me.  I enjoy reading this book to both of them and it’s especially fun to read it to them at the same time. They boisterously interrupt me and each other to ask questions about the book and give answers.  Their voices and enthusiasm when reading to make their own kind of music.

My eldest didn’t know what a cappella meant and didn’t know why it was the opposite of instrumental – so that gave us a great opportunity for us to talk about it. My eldest had no idea what a cassette tape or a record was — so it was fun to try and explain it to him. He asked for an electric guitar and a drum set and I got to regale him with story about how I used to let him bang on pots and pans when he was a baby.


From Music Is… by Brandon Stosuy and Illustrated by Amy Martin. Image used with permission.

Music Is… flooded my two-year-old son with questions, “What’s she doing? What’s he doing? What’s that? Who is he?  Who is she? What’s she doing in the bathtub? Is she singing? Who is he?  Why are their eyes closed?”  And each time we read it, there are more questions and more conversations about different parts of the book.  It’s a wonderful book that is imbued with the joy and celebration of music that everyone can love.

Recommended Ages 1 to 5. Little Simon. October 2016. 32 pages. ISBN: 978-1481477024 Non-Fiction.

Where to Get it:

Author and Illustrator Websites:

  • [Author] Brandon Stosuy — Follow Him on Twitter
  • [Illustrator] Amy Martin — See More of her Stunning Artwork! It is incredible.

More about Music Is:


FTC Disclosures:  Some of the links in the post above are Amazon affiliate links and others are IndieBound affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase something, I will receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Which goes to fund my family’s picture book habit.  It’s a vicious cycle, but we manage.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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