A SWING-ALONG CELEBRATION OF AMERICA’S MUSIC
Written by Carolyn Sloan
Illustrated by Jessica Gibson
(Workman; $24.95, Ages 4-8)
The week of March 16-22 is International Teach Music Week and April is Jazz Appreciation Month so the timing couldn’t be better for a review of this interactive picture book that will get kids’ toes tappin’.
When three cat friends visit The Ripe Tomato Jazz Club in New Orleans, they are curious about their new surroundings. One excited wide eyed cat tells his friends, “I can’t wait for the band to play.”
“What game are they going to be playing?” asks a second cat.
A third friend, decked out in cool jazzy sunglasses, clarifies the confusion by announcing, “The band will be playing music—jazz music.”
When the trio is invited to join in the music making, the fun begins. Readers will enjoy Sloan’s fast paced, fun dialogue between the feline friends and the likeable musicians in the band. The origins of jazz, a selection of instruments, musical greats and even the language of this swinging music are introduced through sidebar information on each page.
Gibson’s vibrant full color two spread illustrations, allow us to follow these three cool cats as they become caught up in the celebration and spirit of the music.
With interactive sound and technology, Welcome to Jazz brings the wonder of this music to life and a better understanding of the concepts in jazz like: beat, rhythm, improvisation and scat singing. With the push of 12 chips on the side panel of the book, readers will want to dance and sing along as they join the cool cats and the band in a lively procession out of the club and into the streets of New Orleans.
- Reviewed by Lisa Saint
Lisa Saint is a writer, artist, educator and an advocate for the arts. She teaches writing, illustration, graphic novels and bookmaking. Lisa is a member of SCBWI. She is also the daughter of legendary jazz great, Gil Bernal.
Click here to read a review of another jazz related picture book.