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Jazz (Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Books) School & Library Binding – September 15, 2006


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Jazz (Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Books) + Before John Was a Jazz Giant: A Song of John Coltrane + Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Series: Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Books
  • School & Library Binding: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Holiday House (September 15, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823415457
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823415458
  • Product Dimensions: 11.6 x 9.7 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,170,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The father-and-son team behind blues journey creates a scintillating paean to jazz. Walter Dean Myers infuses his lines (and the rests between them) with so much savvy syncopation that readers can't help but be swept up in the rhythms. "Stride," for example, narrated by a piano man, captures the spirit of a "band on fire." On a delphinium-purple page, below each line of white type ("I got jump in my feet, and I'm turning up the heat, left hand hauling"), two significant words from that line dance in black script ("jump"/ "feet"), functioning like the chords a jazz pianist uses as percussive punctuation within a tune. Visually, the page's typography evokes long white and short black piano keys. Christopher Myers lays black-inked acetate over brilliant, saturated acrylics. The resulting chiaroscuro conjures the deep shadows and lurid reflections of low-lit after-dark jazz clubs. The artist dynamically enlarges key compositional elements: a massive bass, a long ago drummer's muscular back, and fingers—poised over keys, plucking strings, splayed along a flute. Design sings here, too: Louis Armstrong's spread upends, befitting that jazz giant. A cogent introduction, selective glossary and chronology round out this mesmerizing verbal and visual riff on a uniquely American art form. All ages. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 5-9–Expanding on Blues Journey (Holiday House, 2003), this talented father and son have produced new poetry and paintings to explore a wider repertoire of jazz forms. An introduction provides historical and technical background, briefly touching on influences, improvisation, rhythm, and race. Spreads then pulsate with the bold, acrylic-and-ink figures and distorted perspectives that interpret the multiple moods and styles set forth in the text. The poems begin Along the Nile with a drumbeat and conclude with the heat of a Bourbon Street band. The Myerses experiment aurally and visually with the forms themselves; thus, Stride alternates long, fast-paced lines in a white font with two-word percussive phrases in black, calling to mind a period piano score. Be-bop unleashes a relentlessly rhyming patter in black, punctuated by a blue cursive font that screams. The 15 selections also celebrate vocals, various instrumental combinations, a funeral procession, and Louis Armstrong; New Orleans as spirit and place is woven throughout. The expressionistic figures are surrounded by high-contrast colors in which the visible brushstrokes curve around their subjects, creating an aura that almost suggests sound waves. Wynton Marsaliss Jazz A B Z (Candlewick, 2005) offers an interesting comparison and complement: varied poetic forms and stylized, posterlike visuals present the lives of jazz musicians. Interaction with each inspired title informs the other and awakens interest in listening.–Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

Walter Dean Myers is a New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed author who has garnered much respect and admiration for his fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for young people. Winner of the first Michael L. Printz Award, he is considered one of the preeminent writers for children. He lives in Jersey City, New Jersey, with his family.

Customer Reviews

This is a fine book for all ages, a treasure to American heritage.
H. Ellis
It was the opinion of some that in spite of its picture book packaging, this is a teen book at its core.
E. R. Bird
Walter Dean Myers is a great writer, and his son's a talented illustrator.
Stephen Mischenko

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on August 31, 2006
Format: School & Library Binding
Okay. A bit of a confession here. Back in 2003 I wrote a review of "Blues Journey" in which I said many nice things including, "This is the book that took my breath away", which is fairly expansive even for me. Three years have now passed, and what father/son team Walter and Christopher Myers did for the blues they are doing now for jazz. Looking back on "Blues Journey", I realize that at the time this was not a book I was particularly good at understanding. I had the wherewithal to know that it was beautiful, but if you asked me the number of times I've thought about "Blues Journey" in this three year interim, the answer would be hardly at all. "Jazz" is different. I know it sounds unlikely, but I think this book has something its predecessor lacked. "Jazz" has a purpose, defined by its dedication ("To the children of New Orleans") and brought to searing sizzling life by both its author and its artist. No one can tell you after perusing this book that "Jazz" isn't hot as all get out.

An introduction. For two green pages we are given some facts before the fancy. What is jazz? Where are its roots? How did it grow, prosper, and come to flourish? Where is it today? That's a lot to slip into two little pages, but before you know it you've learned a fact or two and on you go to the poems. They echo what we've just discovered about the music itself. You're looking at a man, bare to the waist, beating out a rhythm on the drum just in front of him. Now it's a black silhouette of a piano player poised against a shifting deepening red background, lit from below. We're in New Orleans following a jazz funeral, then looking down on a charismatic keyboardist with a zoot suit of fine scarlet lines. Beautiful women croon to men curved over, above, and around their instruments.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A. George on March 30, 2007
Format: School & Library Binding
This book is a true find! I'm a teaching poet in the schools and this handsome book with its truly musical poetry helped me when teaching jazz--and jazz poetry-to elementary school kids. The sophisticated poems (some of which address separate elements of jazz including the different instruments) read rhythmically in a way that delights when read aloud! Highly recommended!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 15, 2009
Format: Paperback
Walter Dean Myers, Jazz (Holiday House, 2006)

I get the idea of what Walter Dean Myers is trying to do with this book--write poetry that's inspired by jazz--but in Myers' own introduction, he notes that jazz is about improvisation; "The jazz musician might begin with a well-known melody and then interpret it according to his or her own personality and musical training." Irony, then, that Myers' actual poems here are almost slavishly faithful to their jazz roots, showing nothing in the way of improvisation whatsoever. And if you've ever tried to read jazz lyrics for which you don't know the melody, you know they're repetitive and boring (and occasionally nonsensical); jazz is all about the music. The poetry here comes off the same way. Contrast with Christopher Myers' illustrations, which show an impressive range of mood, form, and emotion, and make the book worth your time. Skim the writing and pay attention to the illustrations. **
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Deidre on April 30, 2013
Format: Paperback
Jazz is a book created by Walter Dean Myers and his father. Their love of jazz brought this father-son duo together to create this beautifully illustrated book that goes into the different subgenres and styles of Jazz. From Bebop to Boogie and Ragtime, this book has it all. This book contains art with line styles that are similar to water flowing down a stream, and saturated colors that convey emotion. The art is used to illustrate lively poems that almost dance right off the page. This book is an excellent introduction to Jazz for children, and will really allow children not to just hear the emotion this is conveyed through Jazz but to feel it from the brushstrokes as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Mischenko on January 20, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I gave this book to my son for Christmas. He's a Jazz student and History major at a local University, and loves the book. Walter Dean Myers is a great writer, and his son's a talented illustrator.
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