A Tisket, A Tasket

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A-tisket, a-tasket, a green-and-yellow basket . . . a little girlie picked it up and took it to the market! Everyone knows these lyrics. But Ora Eitan's wonderfully spirited art truly bring Ella Fitzgerald's adaptation of the nursery rhyme to life-bright cut-paper images seem to jump off the page. Was it red? No, no, no, no. Was it brown? No, no, no, no. . . . And if that girlie don't return it, I don't know what I will do. This is sassy, ...

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Overview

A-tisket, a-tasket, a green-and-yellow basket . . . a little girlie picked it up and took it to the market! Everyone knows these lyrics. But Ora Eitan's wonderfully spirited art truly bring Ella Fitzgerald's adaptation of the nursery rhyme to life-bright cut-paper images seem to jump off the page. Was it red? No, no, no, no. Was it brown? No, no, no, no. . . . And if that girlie don't return it, I don't know what I will do. This is sassy, sweet, pure springtime fun.

Illustrated by Ora Eitan.

A boy in New York City drops his green and yellow basket and later sees a little girl carrying it around.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Silkscreen-style images of New York City, picturing "soul food" signs and downtown icons like the Brooklyn Bridge, illustrate this rendition of Ella Fitzgerald's 1938 song. A boy in a blue baseball cap acts out the jazzy nonsense lyrics about "A-tisket, a-tasket, a green-and-yellow basket,/ I wrote a letter to my mommy,/ on the way I dropped it." As the boy looks for the wicker tote, an impish "little girlie" in pigtails grabs it and runs off, passing a street-corner fruit vendor and making for the park: "She was truckin' on down the avenue/ without a single thing to do." The boy throws a tantrum, but no one has seen his missing item. At last, with the Washington Square arch in the background, the girl gives the boy a flirty glance as her dog returns the basket. Eitan (Cowboy Bunnies) has the tall order of representing lively vocal improv on the pages of a picture book. While the mixed-media collages of people and cityscapes dance with energy, Fitzgerald's fans may wonder at Eitan's choice of a blond boy as the speaker, a silent African-American girl as his teasing counterpart (and playful thief). Monotone text and italics scroll along the bottom of the pictures, implying a call-and-response but flatly lacking in animation ("Was it blue? No, no, no, no. Just a little yellow basket"). There's little correlation graphically with the spontaneity of the scatting sound so closely associated with the First Lady of Song's delivery. Ages 4-8. (Jan.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Fitzgerald's cool, saucy 1930s' musical reworking of the nursery song pours into this picture book like sunshine. Eitan's blithe, classy cut-paper illustrations maintain the electric charge of America's First Lady of Song's delivery and match her sophistication. One character is black, the other Anglo, true to the nursery song's broad appeal. No simple interpretation though, A-tisket reflects the style of a jazz classic. The exuberance of the two children (one losing a basket, one finding it) is enhanced by its contrast with their static urban landscape. The youngsters' clear energy is another nod to Fitzgerald's breezy style. Starting with the endpapers on which baskets and "that little girlie" dance fancifully on an impressionistic depiction of the song's score, it's motion and more motion. Characters are all arms and legs and dance propelled by Eitan's mixed-media, gouache, computer art blast. The book suggests a variety of lively uses for storytime programs and home fun. The reader assumes the role of Fitzgerald's band leader: "Was it red?" and the audience, like her band members, replies: "No, no, no, no." The expectation for children's picture books illustrating songs used to be no more than a series of images supporting the lyrics' literal meaning. This title joins the newer, more sophisticated wave of interpretations like Chris Raschka's Simple Gifts (Holt, 1998) after the Shaker hymn, and Woody Guthrie's Howdi Do (Candlewick, 2000), illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky. Like A-tisket, they evoke the spirit and life inside the songs.-Liza Graybill, Worcester Public Library, MA Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Ella Fitzgerald's words to this familiar nursery rhyme are coupled with vivacious mixed-media illustrations in sophisticated shades of mustard, lime green, brick red, turquoise, black, and gray. Creative design, beginning with endpapers printed with the musical score of "A-Tisket, A-Tasket" and continuing throughout with unconventional type placement (some spreads must be turned on their sides to be read), echoes the groundbreaking nature of early jazz. The rhyme follows one child, clad in oversize baseball hat and baggy pants, who writes a letter to his mommy, but then drops the basket that holds the precious letter: "On the way I dropped it. I dropped it, I dropped it, my little yellow basket." A little girl, in a short patterned skirt and gold hoop earrings, picks up the basket, "truckin' on down the avenue without a single thing to do." Both children, adult folks who attempt to help locate the basket, and a little dog dance and prance against a colorful urban background of shadowy skyscrapers, street markets, bridges, shops, and parks; the energetic figures are stylized rather than realistic. The ending is happy, as the little girl peeks from behind a tree at the little boy, who is overjoyed at the basket's recovery. It's terrific to have Fitzgerald's child-friendly song available in a visual format, and adult fans of the "First Lady of Jazz" will welcome this opportunity to share her talent with children. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399232060
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 1/28/2003
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 3 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.75 (w) x 11.45 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996), one of the great jazz legends of the twentieth century, was born in Newport News, Virginia.

Ora Eitan lives in Tel Aviv, Israel.

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