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Rent Party Jazz Hardcover – April 1, 2013


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 and up
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Lee & Low Books; 1st edition (April 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584300256
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584300250
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 9.2 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #566,413 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Miller's (Night Golf) spryly narrated, uplifting story set in New Orleans in the 1930s springs from an intriguing tradition informal musical fund-raising parties that originated in the South in the early 20th century to help neighbors in financial need. When his mother loses her job in a fish-canning factory, Sonny (who works daily for a coal vendor before school) is determined to do something to help raise the rent money so that they won't be evicted. "You stay in school and learn everything you can everything, so things will be better for you," cautions Mama when he suggests he get a second job and quit school. Day after day, the worried boy listens to the music of Smilin' Jack, who plays his trumpet on the street to an appreciative crowd. When Sonny confides his problem to the musician, he tells Sonny about the rent-party custom and offers to play for the benefit of the boy and his mother. As supportive neighbors toss coins in a bucket and happily move to the strains of Smilin' Jack's horn, Riley-Webb's gaily hued acrylic paintings seem to keep time with the music. Composed of swirling, broad strokes, the art evokes the mood of the jazz riffs as it depicts the streets of the French Quarter. Newcomer Riley-Webb is an illustrator to watch. Ages 6-up.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Gr 1-5-In 1930s New Orleans, Sonny works every day before school and on weekends to help support himself and his mother. One morning, Mama tells him that she has been laid off from her job at the canning factory. The African-American child knows they will be evicted from their home if they can't pay their rent and offers to quit school and get a second job. His mother rejects the idea. Then, in Jackson Square, he hears the great Smilin' Jack playing his trumpet. On the third day, the musician notices the boy's demeanor and asks what's wrong. Upon hearing about Sonny's situation, Smilin' Jack comes up with a solution: they will throw a rent party to raise the money and he will play his horn. The affair is an overwhelming success, and the trumpeter decides to "play at least one rent party" wherever he goes. Sonny realizes that problems can be solved when people work together. The bold acrylic illustrations on two-page spreads are dramatic, lively, upbeat, and colorful, and have a flowing style that is almost musical. An afterword tells about the origin of rent parties and their link to the development of jazz. A universal, rewarding story of people reaching out to others in need.

Sheilah Kosco, Rapides Parish Library, Alexandria, LA

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Sonny Comeaux, a child coming of age in New Orleans during the time of the Great Depression, held a paid job before school and weekends delivering coal to homes and businesses in the French Quarter. His earnings supplemented those of his mother, who worked in a fish canning factory. When hard times caused the factory to lay off its workers, she and Sonny despaired at the thought of missing their next rent payment and getting evicted from their home.

A chance encounter with Smilin' Jack, a jazz musician who was playing around the country, led to the idea of throwing a rent party: a gathering of neighbors with jazz music, plenty of food, and a bucket to collect donations. Could this novel idea help to raise the money that Sonny and his mother so desperately needed?

This unique book introduces readers to rent parties, which originated in African American neighborhoods in the South and in Harlem, NY, to help families who struggled with high rents during difficult economic times. The parties also helped up-and-coming jazz musicians and artists to experiment with their music and develop a following. Rent Party Jazz gets top marks for its informative text and dramatic art work.
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Format: Paperback
This book is a fascinating (and beautiful) look at a lesser-known part of American History.
So we talk about it on the ELLA FITZGERALD CHARITABLE FOUNDATION website - we'd love to
see this book in school libraries all around North America. Such a fun way to learn.
([...]
Highly recommended for classroom reading, reading aloud - put a good jazz CD on while you
read.
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Format: Hardcover
William Miller's Rent Party Jazz is set in New Orleans of the 1930s, where Sonny has to work before school to help his mother. When his mother loses her job, rent day looms and Sonny must devise a unique plan to save the day. Charlotte Riley-Webb's drawings are lively embellishments.
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By D-Y School District on December 23, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great
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