Tuesday, September 12, 2006


DIZZY by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Sean Qualls (Scholastic)
Dizzy Gillespie started out as a roughneck, lashing ut after the outrageous slings and arrows that his father delivered. "Then one day, his music teacher gave himn a trumpet. he picked it up/and blew that thing as hard as he could. That felt GOOD! He took all the anger he felt inside and blasted it out through the end of his horn. IT WAS REALLY LOUD!" What started out as musical retaliation becomes a joyful noise, as young Dizzy practices his way down the path of a young musician, making notes that soared like birds, blew like a fire extinguisher over a fire, notes so high, so fast, so low, diddly diddly bop...brick by brick, creating a house of bebop, and a nation of appreciative listeners.

"If melody was like a rule, jazz was like breaking the rules,
like inventing new rules.
Jazz was like getting in trouble--
it was FUN!"

This true story of an American original has musical language that plays on the tongue in a way that children will find a pleasure to hear. The illustrations are folksy and retro, geometric and flowing, blues and mauves, oh so cool; listen to Gillespie's "Salt Peanuts" while you look at the pictures, because that's what the illustrator listened to while he painted them! In every way, this book hits the high note. (7 and up)

Also of interest:
JAZZ ABZ: AN A TO Z COLECTION OF JAZZ PORTRAITS by Wynton Marsalis, illustrated by Paul Rogers(Candlewick) This collection of poetic biographical "singles" by one of our country's most enthusiastic music educators is too beautiful to keep on a shelf; put it on the coffee table. A great gift for anyone who loves the kind of music that gets your fingers snapping. (8 and up)

Links are provided for informational use. Don't forget to support your local bookseller.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with your comments on Marla Frazee. My favorite work is THE SEVEN SILLY EATERS. The expressions are so true!


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