From School Library Journal
Grade 1-5–Using a lively version of the children's song This Old Man, this book introduces famous African-American jazz musicians as it counts to nine. Louis Armstrong is number 1. This jazz man, he plays one,/He plays rhythm with his thumb,/With a Snap! Snap! Snazzy-snap!/Give the man a hand,/This jazz man scats with the band. The illustrations give clues to the performers, and the end matter has a biographical sketch for each one. In the final spread, all of the musicians are together, taking bows: These jazz men make one great band! The energetic collage illustrations introduce the action by picturing bold striped curtains encompassing an empty stage set up with jazz instruments; each performer's subsequent spread has striped borders. Onomatopoeic words spill across the pages in imitation of the music's sounds. The book is fun for jazz aficionados and neophytes alike. Children will enjoy the sounds and illustrations and sing along without needing to know more.–Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA
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Ehrhardt moves the traditional counting chant "This Old Man" to the jazz club in this infectious, rhythmic offering. Each page features a different jazz musician who plays "rhythm with his thumb," makes "music with his shoes," and so on. The rhyming text scans with a smooth, toe-tapping tempo that's nicely extended by the colorful, mixed-media images, arranged in compositions that have their own staccato beat. Bars of striped color slide across page edges, and stylized African American musicians, rendered in geometric shapes and textured prints, send up "notes that rise to heaven." Children will want to shout along with the scat-cat rhythms ("Beedle-di-Bop! Bebop!") that replace the original chant's "paddy-whack" refrain and are printed in colorful letters that punctuate the artwork. This will appeal most to preschoolers and kindergarteners, but older children will appreciate the closing section, which reveals that the featured musicians represent real-life jazz legends, including Charles Mingus and Charlie Parker. A short biography of each is appended. A welcome introduction to the world of jazz. Gillian EngbergCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved