It would seem a riddle worthy of the sphinx: how do you give children a sense of jazz music without playing a note? Chris Raschka answers loudly and clearly with the illustrated, syncopated Charlie Parker Played Be Bop
. This sparse, rhythmic, repetitive text (inspired by a recording of Parker's "A Night in Tunisia") embraces and reflects the sound and feel of jazz when read aloud: "Charlie Parker played be bop. / Charlie Parker played saxophone. / The music sounded like be bop. / Never leave your cat alone." Whether in complete phrases or in nonsense refrains that taste like music in your mouth ("Alphabet alphabet, alphabet, alph, / Chickadee, chickadee, chickadee, chick, / Overshoes, overshoes, overshoes, o, / Reeti-footi, reeti-footi, reeti-footi, ree."), Raschka brings melody to the page, and rhythm to eager ears.
Raschka, whose Yo! Yes? won a Caldecott Honor, and whose Mysterious Thelonious--another ebullient, musical exploration of a jazz legend--was named a 1997 ALA Notable Book, proves once again that he is just as at home with a paintbrush as he is with a pen. His bold, quirky illustrations add movement and light to the words, buoying their already lyrical effect. Charlie Parker Played Be Bop is a colorful, whimsical romp through the world of jazz, sure to set young and old toes a-tapping. (Ages 4 to 8) --Brangien Davis
From Publishers Weekly
Regardless of whether they've heard of jazz or Charlie Parker, young readers will bop to the pulsating beat of this sassy picture book. In a daring attempt to capture the raw energy of Parker's music (and in language recalling the verbal theatrics of Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault), Raschka combines a text that's as lean as a poem and as mean as a blues refrain ("Charlie Parker played be bop. / Charlie Parker played no trombone. / The music sounded like be bop. / Barbecue that last leg bone") with vigorously skewed illustrations gleaming with sly wit. Even the typeface joins in the fun, as italics and boldface strut and swing across the pages. Those in the know will enjoy the inside jokes (the pages, for example, are decorated with birds, after Parker's nickname); young and old alike will find this a read-aloud that's hard to resist. And that's no jive. Ages 3-6.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.