Title: The Right Way to Rock
Author: Nat Amoore
Published: 1st June 2021
Synopsis: The rockin’ story of two new friends, one arts fiasco and a whole lot of music.
Without music, the world is just blah. That’s my take on life, anyway.
Mum says rock is the only music worth listening to, but I think everyone should find their own beat.
When I hear that Principal Keiren plans to cut all of the arts classes at Watterson Primary, there’s no way me and my new mate Flynn are gonna let that happen. We’re dragging our secret Broadway appreciation society into the spotlight.
It’s time for Watterson: The Musical!
SAVE THE ARTS!
The Watterson gang are back, and this time, Tess, Toby, Cookie, Casey and the rest of the gang from the first two books are here as well in a beautiful celebration of community, family, friendship, the arts and neurodiversity and the diverse world that has sprouted from the hilarious mind of the fantabulous Nat Amoore. Mac Cooper loves musicals. His mum loves rock music, particularly Fleetwood Mac. He has to hide his true musical love from her, but he feels music as a whole in its heart and loves the arts. He’s in his final year of primary school when he is invited to join a secret Broadway musical society by one of his fantastic teachers, and shortly after, finds out that the school principal, Principal Keiren, is going to cut the entire arts program! With his new friend, Flynn, who has Tourette’s, and SSOMBA, Mac hatches a daring plan to save the arts of Watterson!
Wow! This is a celebration of the arts and the importance of the arts and music. Using Broadway tunes with lyrics that fit the book, Nat has created a fantastic rallying cry that serves to urge us to see the value in the arts and in those different to us – to see them for the real person that they are, and not just a stereotype, as Flynn teaches Mac about his Tourette’s and by extension, diversity and neurodiversity. I loved the way Flynn and Mac’s friendship developed and the way everyone interacted with Flynn, allowing him to be who he is, and celebrating what makes him unique and different. Representation like this shows readers the beauty of a diverse cast and a diverse range of people in life, and Nat has done her research to make sure it is done well. Flynn was a fun character, and whilst his tics took me by surprise at first, as I wasn’t expecting it, I felt that they showed his unique personality whilst exploring acceptance and the assumptions and misconceptions someone like Flynn faces in society.
Alongside this, is the aforementioned celebration of the arts. In a world where the arts seem to be taken for granted or ignored, or even diminished, we need more books like this that empower readers of all ages to stand up for the arts. For without the arts, we do not have design, we do not have homes, we cannot read, and we cannot entertain ourselves. There is an element of the arts in everything even though it seems like it may not be. We would not have clothing, homewares, furniture without design – and that’s art. During the pandemic, we all turned to the arts: music, books, television, movies, streaming…and we still are. The arts are vital, and the gist of this book is the importance of arts and the constant clamouring against the valuing of arts as seen through Principal Keiren. But with a little determination, maybe the town of Watterson can save the arts!
This delightful, touching and funny book captures the love for the arts that we have and shows the power of words in pulling us together, along with music to create a community that values the arts. Nat’s adoration and celebration of the arts is a beautiful thing to behold. Without the arts, we lose something of ourselves. We lose part of what makes us human, and our imagination. In today’s world, the arts and our imaginations are amongst some of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal to cope with what we are going through, and in the words of the Watterson crew and Nat Amoore – SAVE THE ARTS!
Another fantastic Watterson book!