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Charlie Parker Played Be Bop Paperback – September 1, 1997


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 140L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic; Reprint edition (September 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0531070956
  • ISBN-13: 978-0531070956
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 8.5 x 0.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #188,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

As we read Charlie Parker Played Be Bop, she points to each word.
Julie Roberts Towe
This book has been a favorite of my son since we first read it to him as a six month old.
maple121
The book is fun, easy to read for children, and the pictures are great.
S. Moyer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Neil F. Sambol on July 10, 2004
Format: Paperback
I purchased this book because I love Charlie Parker and wanted to share that love with my then 6-month-old son (he's been listening to Charlie Parker on Phil Schaap's Birdflight since he came home from the hospital).
It immediately became his favorite book (he has over 100) and INSISTS that it be read to him 4-5 times per day. Frequently, we will have just finished it and he reaches for it again. One of his first 7 words is pa-ka (Parker)...it is his first two-syllable word! I would teach him to say "Bird," but I think that would confuse him right now. :-)
The pictures are wonderful! I particularly like the one of "Charlie Parker Played No Trombone" which shows Bird looking at a trombone and scratching his head.
The words and sounds are wonderful and convey the feeling and flavor of "Be Bop."
My son particularly loves the mysterious kitty...
My son is now 13 months old and it's still his favorite book BY FAR!
"Never leave your cat a-lone..."
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on June 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Chris Raschka refuses to be neatly cataloged, noted, and tucked away in a file somewhere. When this man writes a picture book you really get the feeling that he's put his spine and soul into it. I've had the mixed pleasure of reading a wide variety of Raschka titles in my day. There was the original if somewhat misguided "John Coltrane's Giant Steps", the ridiculously simple but fun "Yo! Yes?", and that remarkable and odd, "The Genie In the Jar". If there's one connecting thread between his various works, it's probably rooted in Raschka's deep and abiding love of music. He's the only picture book artist I can think of that's introduced kids to everyone from Thelonious Monk to (amazing but true) Nina Simone. For the first time, however, I've found a Raschka book that I could fall head over heels in love with. Usually I respect the man's work without ever really enjoying his books, if that makes any sense. With "Charlie Parker Played Be Bop", however, I think Raschka's really tapped into something amazing.

The book's like a single, long poem. The reoccurring phrase is, "Charlie Parker played be bop" with the final line always, "Never leave your cat alone". That means that a stanza sounds something like, "Charlie Parker played be bop / Charlie Parker played saxaphone / The music sounded like be bop / Never leave your cat alone". You get the picture. Occasionally, however, this book goes all-out silly on you, but with a rhythm that's hard to ignore. "Be bop. Fisk, fisk. Lollipop. Boomba, boomba". And suddenly there are lollipops and odd blue nosed animals tramping across the page in a line, obviously in touch with the beat of the song.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jack on April 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I searched for this book after my 22 month old son's daycare provider shared how he had memorized it, and when prompted with "Charlie Parker plays..." would delightedly shout out "bee-bop!" We found it when on a trip for my sister's wedding, and we astounded all the relatives when he had essentially memorized the book. He would scat "fisk fisk" and "overshoes overshoes overshoes oh." He literally knows half the book. He had us all in stitches.

The illustrations in this book are fun, bright, and playful. The words trip across the page like the music does. It doesn't grow tiresome after repeated readings.

I highly recommend this book. And maybe play a little Bird while you're reading it!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By S. Moyer on December 31, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Picked this book up at the Library after it was featured on PBS's Between The Lions. My son never put the book down, so we bought it. The book is fun, easy to read for children, and the pictures are great. Both my boys have it memorized and read it often.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 6, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I am a licensed preschool music teacher. I found "Charlie Parker...." and was immediately thrilled with it. I took it and read it to my preschool music classes, ages 3-5. The first time they heard it, they liked it but clearly were a little puzzled, I think because the book was outside their normal reading references. By the second or third time they heard it, they were tapping their feet and spontaneously moving to the jazz rhythms of the book. I'm on the fourth or fifth class reading of the book, and they dig it more every time! My sincere appreciation to Chris Raschka for creating such a wonderful experience in jazz for children (and grownups). I'm eagerly looking forward to "Mysterious Thelonious!"
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Julia Masi on January 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
Chris Raschka has written a book that captures of the rythmn and essence of Charlie Parker's music. This is a wonderful way to help children learn the sounds of letters and how the sounds combine to make words. Perfect for emergent readers. Excellent read a loud for younger children. The illustrations alone could classify this as a perfect picture book. But, the unique style and content of the text make it an appropriate addition to the library for any music teacher, art teacher, speech consultant, pre-school teacher or new parent. Its never too early to teach a child to read or cultivate an interest in jazz.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
No doubt about it. A classic that has my three year old now in love with be bop. Beautiful, whimsical paintings and delicious text! A great alternative to usual kid book drivel and TV engineered pap like authur, bernstien bears and disney stuff. Looking for children's literature. You found it.
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