Sunday, February 08, 2009

This Jazz Man

Ehrhardt, Karen. 2006. This Jazz Man. Harcourt.

Karen Ehrhardt's This Jazz Man is a fun picture book that adapts the classic song "This Old Man." This is the kind of premise that could go either way--be really, really good and clever, or be really, really bad. In my opinion, This Jazz Man is successful in its attempt to make this song swing. Like all jazz books should, it starts with Louis Armstrong.

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.

Of course it continues counting through the jazz band.

This jazz man, he plays nine,
He plucks strings that sound divine,
With a thimp-thump! Dumple-thump!
Give the man a hand,
This jazz man jams with the band.

What the book doesn't make obvious from the get go is the fact that each number pays tribute to a jazz legend--that big reveal comes at the end of the book. 2 is Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. 3 is Luciano "Chano" Pozo y Gonzalez. 4 is Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington. 5 is Charlie "Bird" Parker. 6 is Art "Bu" Blakey. 7 is John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie. 8 is "Thomas Wright "Fats" Waller. 9 is Charles "Baron" Mingus. Together these make for one great band...

The illustrations are by R.G. Roth. The book would be great for showing onomatopoeias--snap, bippity-bop, bomp, doodly-doot, etc. And for introducing jazz vocabulary--scats, jams, stomps, pounds, blows, beats, wails, swings, etc. But even if you're not looking to use the book in a classroom (or home school setting), the book is just fun--delightful even. I loved it.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comment:

e-maginary friend said...

Thanks for the great review, Becky!
come visit me on Goodreads...

Karen Ehrhardt
"This Jazz Man"