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Trombone Shorty Hardcover – April 14, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 1–4—"Where y'at?" Troy Andrews, aka Trombone Shorty, opens his book with this phrase, letting readers know that it's New Orleans parlance for hello. In this stunning picture book autobiography, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Andrews shares the story of his early years growing up in the Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans. Andrews desperately wished to emulate the musicians in his family and those he saw performing all over his city, so he and his friends made their own instruments out of found materials, played in the streets, and marched with bands. When one day he found a battered, discarded trombone bigger than he was, Andrews finally had a real instrument to play, and he practiced day and night, acquiring the nickname Trombone Shorty from his older brother. The moment Bo Diddley pulled Andrews on stage to play with him during the New Orleans jazz festival was a turning point, and he hasn't stopped performing since. Collier's beautiful watercolor, pen-and-ink, and collage artwork picks up the rhythm and pace of Andrew's storytelling, creating an accompaniment full of motion and color. Each spread offers a visual panoply of texture, perspective, and angles, highlighting the people and the instruments. Andrews's career is still on the rise, his music gaining an ever wider audience, and this title will be an inspiration to many. VERDICT Coupled with a selection of Trombone Shorty's music, this work will make for fun and thoughtful story sharing. A must-have.—Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA
"This well-told and exquisitely illustrated story of a musician with a steep career trajectory will inspire young readers to pursue their passions, despite the challenges."
"If a fairy tale were set in New Orleans, this is how it would read."
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Top Customer Reviews
The big idea of this story is to show that when you hold on to what you love at all costs, great things can happen. This story is steeped in rich New Orleans culture as Troy Andrews begins his story with a traditional New Orleans, ‘hello’ by saying ‘where Y’at?’ on the first page and throughout the entire story. He credits his city and his older brother with igniting his passion for music. In the beginning of the story, Andrews says that he and his friends would watch his older brother’s jazz band and they would pretend to play along. One day, at only six years of age, Troy found a trombone in severe disrepair, but he that did not stop him from trying to fix it and play it. The trombone was bigger than he was which is how he got the nickname Trombone Shorty. One day his mother brought him to the Jazz Festival to see the famous jazz musician, Bo Diddley. Troy brought his trombone to play along to the music. As Bo Diddley was playing on stage, he stopped the show to ask who was playing in the crowd. Little Troy Andrews was passed across the crowd to the stage where he played along with the band. This proved to be only the first of many, many concerts and a lifelong career in music.
Bryan Collier, who also illustrated Uptown and I, Too, Am America, has a very unique illustration style which pairs well with the uniqueness of the story. He uses a surprising combination of watercolor and collage and begins every project by having his friends and family act out scenes of the story to inspire him. The collage pictures seem to keep the story grounded in reality which adds an interesting complexity to the feel of the autobiography. I especially enjoyed the pictures of Troy Andrews as a young child playing the trombone where Collier shows the music spiraling out of the trombone making the music appear as if it is its own character in the book.
This book is filled with information from cover to cover. Even the jacket is loaded with information on Trombone Shorty and Bryan Collier. The only drawback is that occasionally the text is set too close to the gutter and as a result becomes difficult to read.
The author’s main goal is to show the reader that it is not how you start but how you finish. He encourages children to pursue their dreams and he captures the tradition and flavor of New Orleans perfectly. I believe the author does a great job encouraging children to work hard to achieve their goals. I especially like how the story is about a young black boy but, it does not mention civil rights or slavery. It is simply a good story with a young black boy as the main character. As a result, I believe more young African American children will be able to identify with this story and it may have a greater effect on them.
This book is geared toward children in grades one through four however, children of all ages will enjoy it. I would certainly recommend this book to many different grade levels, especially those interested in music. I plan to use this story as writing prompt for my fifth graders. After reading this story to them, I will have them reflect on and write about something that they love to do, or want to do in the future, and the obstacles they have had or anticipate having to overcome.