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The Piano Man Hardcover – February 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 840L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Walker Childrens (February 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802786464
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802786463
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 9.8 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,419,556 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3?Chocolate adds to her list of books on African and African-American themes with a fictional memoir drawn from her own family history. "My grandfather," begins her narrative, "played piano for the silent movies." He played on Broadway for the Follies and sang and danced in vaudeville. When marriage and family ended his days on the road and silent movies turned into talkies, he became a piano tuner. His greatest joy in his last years was to play the old upright piano bought by his daughter from the theater he once filled with music. Bright red theater curtains on the endpapers set the stage for the series of well-designed, realistic, double-spread paintings in acrylic with pencil cross-hatching, which bring the past to life. Warm, vibrant earth tones enliven the text. But central to the story, and the key to its enjoyment by young readers today, is the narrator's memories of a beloved grandfather, a warm family, and a black community happily entertained by early films and ragtime music.?Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Ages 5^-8. In this first-person picture book, an African American girl tells the story of her grandfather, who played piano in a silent movie theater, a Broadway theater, a medicine show, and vaudeville. After marrying a vaudeville dancer, he played in movie theaters again until the talkies came along, then tuned pianos for a living. Years later, the piano man's granddaughter loves to turn on a television western with the volume low and listen to him play piano "and hammer out his memories of the old silent picture shows." Velasquez's artwork sweeps the somewhat adult story along, and his subtle characterization of faces gives warmth and individuality to the main characters and often to figures in crowd scenes as well. The jacket art shows the piano man with a disconcertingly modern-looking daughter (confusingly, the narrator's mother), but most of the pictures nicely reflect the various periods of his life. Students assigned to interview their grandparents for family history will find this an appealing starting point. Carolyn Phelan

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By J.Marie on October 19, 2013
Format: Paperback
I remember going to several movie theatres where the piano played during the movie. It was quite an experience. I highly recommend this historical text to parents of children. They will not be disappointed.
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Format: Paperback
"The Piano Man" is a beautifully illustrated 9 1/2 inch by 10 1/2 inch 31 page children's picture book. Every other page is a full color full page illustration. The other pages are also full color, full page illustrations with limited text -- usually a short paragraph. This is Eric Velasquez's first children's picture book and his illustrations are full of emotion and feeling. One can envision the days of silent movies, silent movie piano players, Broadway, The Ziegfeld Follies, Ragtime Music, the travelling Snake Doctor's Medicine Show. Vaudville, and the eventual advent of sound movies through the marvelous illustrations of Eric Velasquez. Children will be fascinated by these colorful illustrations and jacket cover.

Debbie Chocolate recounts the memories of her musically talented grandfather, Sherman L. Robinson. All of the events in this wonderful book are based on the experiences of Debbie's grandfather. The reader actually experiences a collage of the life of Sherman L. Robinson from the time he was a very young man until the time he was an old man. Debbie Chocolate knows exactly how much text to include in the story and skillfully conveys the story of her grandfather through the various phases of his life. As I read the book and stared at the pages I felt as though I was sitting in that old time theater where silent movies reflected from the screen and could hear Debbie's grandfather playing that piano to convey the emotions and feelings of the characters in the silent movies. It was fascinating to learn about Mr. Robinson's love for Ragtime music and to find out that Jelly Roll Morton taught him to play two pianos at the same time.
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