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Dizzy Hardcover – October 1, 2006

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books (October 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439507375
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439507370
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 10.8 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #891,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 3-8–Through a powerful marriage of rhythmic text and hip and surprising illustrations, the unorthodox creator of Bebop comes to life. Beaten regularly by his father, the young Gillespie found escape in a trumpet given to him by his music teacher. For the boy with the horn/fueled with a FIRE/that burned with every whooping,/JAZZ was like a fire extinguisher./It was cooooooool. He went on to become a crowd-pleasing performer, loving jazz because it ...was like breaking the rules,/like inventing new rules. Later, in New York, he began playing his own music. He called it Bebop: It was like he had taken a wrecking ball/and SMASHED IN/The House of Jazz,/till the walls came tumbling down…. Winter's lively writing pops with energy and begs to be read aloud. Qualls's acrylic, collage, and pencil illustrations swing across the large pages with unique, jazzy rhythms, varying type sizes and colors, and playful perspectives, perfectly complementing the text. This is a book that has a message: …the very thing that had gotten him into trouble/so much–/being a clown, breaking all the rules–/had become the thing that made him great…. But most important, it is a delightful story that introduces readers to an influential and unique American musician.–Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* There have been many books about jazz for young readers, a peculiar topic because, as a rule, it's not a form of music that children have an affinity for, if they are familiar with it at all. But, together, Winter and Qualls make it work. That's because Winter recognizes that if he can get readers interested in a character--in this case, trumpet revolutionary Dizzy Gillespie--they will want to learn more about his music. And Qualls is able to translate the story (and the music) into shapes and colors that undulate and stream across the pages with a beat and bounce of their own. The story of "one real cool cat" begins with a South Carolina childhood full of blue notes. Poor, abused, and angry, young John Birks Gillespie has his life turned around after a teacher gives him a trumpet. In a two-page spread, a river of red--his anger in living color--bursts out of Gillespie's new horn as he blows "REALLY LOUD." An explanation of jazz follows, and it is simple enough for the audience: "You took a melody and played it all different ways . . . changed every phrase--it was crazy." That is followed up with a bit more illumination dear to kids' hearts: "If a melody was like a rule, jazz was like breaking the rules, like inventing new rules. Jazz was like getting into trouble." Tracing Gillespie's ascent in the New York jazz world of the early 1940s, the story catches the excitement of the city, meshing it with the trumpeter's crazy personality (which earned him the nickname Dizzy); meanwhile, the artwork zigs and zags in color combinations that evoke the nightclub scene--greens, tans, a bit of peach, all counterpointed with muted grays. An author's note fills out Dizzy's story and lauds him for a personal life that was as composed as his music was wild. Turn up the stereo: kids will want to hear his music for themselves. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Judy K. Polhemus VINE VOICE on May 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I have read this book and studied the illustrations several times now and still have not made up my mind about "Dizzy." Why so difficult? You see, that's the problem--I don't know. Let me walk you through the story.

I love the colors: pinks, chocolates, purples, grays, blacks, pale turquoise, and burgundy. The end pages are chocolate--symbolic of the color of Dizzy Gillespie's skin, then following the new trend in children's books--beginning the illustrations before even reaching the title page. There are two angels blowing their trumpets, announcing the delivery of a new baby--little John Birks Gillespie to a man in overalls and a woman in an orange dress walking down a country road in South Carolina.

"This is the story of one real COOL cat...born very poor and very tough." Displayed against rose pink walls are three boys, one downcast and two ugly-faced. The other boys beat up John Birks, until "one day he just couldn't take it anymore...and he whooped the living tar out of some big bully." Now John is ugly-faced, too. Those rose pink walls are smeary gray and rusty pink.

"He was always mad./ You see, his dad/ was always beating on HIM...." And a big-fisted, ugly-faced man stands over a puzzled little boy. The colors are grays and browns with one wine-colored rug because---the next two pages show a boy with a trumpet given to him by his music teacher. He blasts his anger through that horn and the sound is clotted-blood-red, pink, smeary white.

He plays and plays until the pages turn pale pink and show birds and butterflies (though they are gray). Even his shadow is gray, but the music, ah, the music has turned a smooth wine red. What he learns to play is JAZZ. "Jazz was like getting in trouble--it was FUN!
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Karyn W VINE VOICE on February 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I'd recommend this book to children aged 7-10, especially a child interested in music or to those looking for a book to celebrate African Americans. Be aware of the child abuse aspect, but learning about the interesting life of Dizzy Gillespie is fun with the colorful llustrations and text of this book. You will definitely find out more about this influential musician with this book.
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5 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Sack VINE VOICE on February 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a picture book biography of Dizzy Gillespie. We learn that he is beaten by his father while growing up. At school he takes an interest in music and let's his anger flow through the trumpet he is learning to play. He goes on to make a name for him self. He makes his own style of music and the people love it!

At one point in the text a bunch of symbols were written and it looked like the author was wanting to write a curse word in the book but used the symbols as well. I really didn't like that at all in a picture book for young readers.

I really would look else where for a good bio on Dizzy.
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