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Scout is not a band kid
2022
Where is it?
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Trade Reviews
Publishers Weekly Review
White Ontario eighth grader Scout Martins will do anything to meet the elderly creator of her favorite character--magical, trombone-wielding Posaune Warrior Princess. When Scout's father says that local festival AlmonteFest, where the creator is slotted for what could be a last appearance, is too far to attend, Scout finds her own way: by lying about having previously played trombone, she joins a school band that is headed to the festival. Though Scout's mercenary scheme initially prompts comedic panic, it's soon juxtaposed against the focus of trombone first chair Merrin Lafreniere, who's working to earn a spot at a competitive arts high school. After Merrin is tapped to mentor Scout, interfering with Merrin's routine, the two find that they both enjoy Posaune Warrior Princess, and the duo's initial clash becomes a heartfelt friendship. Employing rounded, fluid linework reminiscent of Heartstopper, and introducing the school's variously diverse characters via character sheets, which detail pronouns and stats, debut creator Armstrong excels at portraying characters' expressive reactions, for example Scout's mortification at accidentally throwing her trombone's sleeve during a concert. Back matter discusses characters' development and design, and includes a number of four-panel shorts. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8--12. Agent: Seth Fishman, Gernert Co. (Apr.) ■
Booklist Review
In this debut graphic novel, middle-schooler Scout joins band for completely selfish reasons: she's in it for the end-of-the-year trip to an anime festival. Scout has a burning desire to meet the author of her favorite comic, and her ticket to the show is learning trombone, which she accomplishes with the help of Merrin, her overachieving section leader. This title takes a lot of cues from typical Japanese manga style, including the author notes and extra strips at the end of the book. The beats and pacing are just what a fan of manga would feel familiar with, even though the setting is slightly different, as the cast of characters are generally from Canada. All the elements of a great middle-grade story are there: school drama, figuring out priorities, and positive representations of supportive friendships. Scout is a relatable character for any nerdy kid, especially those who like drawing or crafting or who have other very specific hobbies, and it feels like a win when she finds some pals who share her interests.
Horn Book Review
Scout is not a band kid...she's a fangirl. This graphic novel celebrates the lengths to which eighth grader Scout goes to meet her idol, Pristine Wong, creator of a beloved (fictional) book series about a magical girl. When Scout learns that her school band will be performing at Almontefest -- where Wong is doing a signing -- she enthusiastically seizes the opportunity to scam her way into the trombone section. The only other trombone player, Merrin, a type-A overachiever, is thrilled to have her company, until Scout's utter lack of musical knowledge becomes apparent. The two eventually find common ground and discover that each girl's strengths complement the other's vulnerabilities. New characters are introduced with a stat box that lists their pronouns and ranks personality traits (e.g., Merrin's "Dexterity, Intelligence, Charisma") from Scout's perspective on a scale of one to four stars. Additionally, Armstrong's cartoony art style and focus on expressions and interactions help animate the characters. While this graphic novel will immediately entice nerdy fans of all stripes, Scout's development models a nuanced, supported approach to goal-setting that will resonate with many middle-school readers. Back matter includes details and reference drawings for Armstrong's characters, and sixteen four-panel black-and-white mini comics. Niki Marion March/April 2022 p.(c) Copyright 2022. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Review
Eighth grader Scout is desperate to meet her favorite author, who will be appearing at a festival in another town. The only way she can think of to get there is to join the school band, which will be performing at the festival. Trouble is, Scout doesn't play an instrument. So she lies and says she plays the trombone. The other trombone player, Merrin, a serious music student who has a lot at stake from the band's success, is excited to welcome her, but when she discovers that Scout can't play, she is actually upset. Thinking Scout is just rusty, their teacher assigns Merrin to tutor Scout, telling the girls they will both be kicked out if they don't get along better. Scout, meanwhile, shows little inclination to practice. Eventually, the two find common ground--a not unexpected development, but the twists and turns of the plot while getting there contain many lively and amusing moments. As a character, Scout is so flawed it's intriguing: Her self-centered behavior and lack of conscience about lying and using band participation to get what she wants are presented not as a growth opportunity but simply not a big deal, which makes her eventual success feel unearned, creating a less-than-impactful ending. Scout and Merrin present as White, and the book refreshingly portrays a school inhabited by kids and teachers diverse in ethnicity and gender identity and expression who accept one another. A perky and mostly fun story. (character sketches, author's note) (Graphic fiction. 10-14) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
A young girl in middle school will do whatever it takes to meet her favorite author-even if it means joining her school band! A contemporary graphic novel about making your dream come true-and the friends you make along the way.

When Scout learns that her favorite author is doing an exclusive autograph session at the end of the year, she's determined to be there! She officially needs a plan...and when she finds out that her school's band is heading to the same location for their annual trip, an idea takes shape. Being a band kid can't be that hard, right?

As it turns out, learning how to play an instrument when you can't even read music is much, much, MUCH tougher than expected. And it's even harder for Scout when her friends aren't on board with her new hobby. Will she be able to master the trombone, make new band friends, and get to her favorite author's book signing? Tackling everything seems like a challenge for a supergenius superfriend supermusician-and she's just Scout.
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