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The Jazz Fly (book w/ audio CD) Hardcover – May 30, 2000

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 1-When a drummer fly gets lost on his way to a gig, he tries to get directions from a frog, a pig, a donkey, and a dog, but none of them speaks his language. He finally finds his way to the club and all is well until the Queen Bee demands "-a new BEAT/or this band is OUT!" The fly is stymied until he remembers the retorts of the animals he heard on his way and uses those noises to create a whole new sound that makes the band famous. The rhyming text includes scat refrains like "ZA-baza, BOO-zaba, ZEE-zah RO-ni" that just beg to be read aloud. The unique illustrations, gray-toned pictures with contrasting hints of pastel colors, were accomplished by scanning pencil sketches into a Macintosh computer and then re-creating them with Adobe Illustrator. One spread features the gray figures of the bassist and saxophonist spotlighted in green and pink, respectively. The text itself is cleverly designed. Words representing sounds are portrayed as if they are coming right out of the animals' mouths in colored fonts. Together the illustrations and book design give the whole enterprise the feel of jazz, even without musical accompaniment. The accompanying CD is delightful. Gollub narrates with a jazzy beat, and the danceable music perfectly accentuates the story. Children will love hearing this book read aloud and imitating the animal sounds and other refrains. A natural for storytimes.
Tim Wadham, Maricopa County Library District, Phoenix, AZ
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

A fly gets lost on his way to a performance, so he asks several animals how to get to town: "ZA-baza, BOO-zaba, ZEE-zah RO-ni?" he asks. The frog, the hog, and the donkey don't understand Jazz Fly, but, fortunately, the dog does. Arriving at the club, Jazz Fly sits down at his drums and begins to play, incorporating the animal sounds into his music to great audience response. The story is slight but bouncy, especially as it's told by the author on the accompanying audie CD, with the narration heightened by the music of a jazz quartet. The illustrations are mostly black, white, and gray, with splashes of color to accentuate the jazzy style. Susan Dove Lempke
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Lexile Measure: 480L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Tortuga Pr; 1St Edition edition (May 30, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1889910171
  • ISBN-13: 978-1889910178
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 10.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #183,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I thought my husband was crazy when he ordered this book. Our 2 boys are 3 and 2, and I thought they were just too young for it. As a band director, he's always introducing the kids to every aspect of music. There's a lot of books to introduce children's songs and classical music, but this is the first one we've found on Jazz. The boys have asked for this book every night since we got it (about 1 month ago). They take turns being the different characters and playing their respective instruments. It's so catchy, I find myself singing the words quite often throughout the day.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By C. Johns on June 18, 2002
Format: Hardcover
As a teacher, I am always searching for quality literature to supplement and boost my curriculum. This book is amazing! Not only is it an enchanting story, it encourages children to think creatively. The introduction of "scat" singing encourages language play and rhyming in new ways. The accompanying CD enabled the children to appreciate Jazz, exposing them to the actual sounds and combinations of the instruments. My class embraced this story and made it their own, retelling it over and over again. As a parent, I was thrilled when my own children discovered Jazz, thanks to The Jazz Fly. They now enjoy identifying various instruments and are eager to learn more about music. This is an upbeat, positive addition to library!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I am a teacher in a 3/4 combo class of English Language Learners (native Spanish speakers). I also have 5 year old triplet girls at home. I was fortunate enough to see Matthew Gollub speaking at a teacher's convention and was really enthralled with his animated way of getting the audience in. I ended up buying three of his books. The Jazz Fly was a big hit with my own children. They loved the version I read (although I can't do it justice) and the version on the CD by Mr. Gollub. I can't wait to use this book in my classroom for my music unit!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Brown on May 21, 2001
Format: Hardcover
What's the buzz? It's a fly who speaks jazz & he's asking different critters which way to town. The frog, the hog, the donkey & the dog all say it differently & the Jazz Fly hears music in their words.
Karen Hanke's vivid & vibrantly elegant illustrations zing & zap you from each page. I loved Sammy the Centipede & Willie the Worm - hoppin' & boppin' until the Jazz Club is jammin'. Weird & wonderful!
The Jazz Fly is different & fun - a real tongue-twister. Joyous with anticipation, invention & inspiration. There's a CD on which the author reads his story & a jazz combo plays: ~ skit ~ scat ~ fancy that! Great Stuff! Well done!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 11, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I love this book! It's an incredible jaunt through jazz, animal languages, and the funny events at an insect nightclub. I tried playing it for my 2nd grade class, and they picked up the rhythm right away. My piano teacher loved it, too. In fact, everyone who hears it seems to get hooked on it right away. Hats off to author Matthew Gollub for a story (and performance) that will endure for many years. And long live the three "i's" that he describes in his author's note: ingenuity, improvisation, and interpretation!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By J. Cantor on May 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book includes an audio CD tucked into the front cover -- the story accompanied by music. My kids (ages 6 and 2) encountered the audio version before they saw the book, and loved it. It's got an excitement and rhythm that makes them both dance. The words are fun and easy to memorize, although the kids remain tickled that Dad can't get the scat lines straight. Za baza boo zaba . . . The book adds really fun visuals to the mix. Like the jazz-drumming fly in this book, the CD and book combo "put it all together and served it out hot."
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Gordon Inkeles on March 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I've given several copies of this book/CD as gifts to my friend's children. It's always enthusiastically received.

Most conventional music education seems to ignore jazz, which is puzzling since it is our own music, not a European implant. Matthew Golub has found a way to make the learning process truly enjoyable. The rhythms are infectious; you find yourself singing along with the CD. And the cartoon-like text is fun for children of all ages. This is a book to own, if you have a musically inclined child.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By MovedbyMusic on May 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Jazz can get elitest sometimes. Jazz musicians can narrowly define jazz as only rhythm change or blues. I love this book because it does not put jazz in a box - it gives life to jazz sounds. This book gives kids and those who read to kids a chance to just "dig it." There is no over-emphasizing the roots of jazz or making the rhythm too complicated to follow, it's just a fun introduction to different scat sounds that even a little kid can relate to and follow.
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The Jazz Fly (book w/ audio CD)
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