Bebop Express

Bebop Express

by H. L. Panahi, Steve Johnson, Lou Fancher
     
 

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The whistle's a-blowin',
the engine's a-pumpin' —
conductors are dancin'
and passengers jumpin'!
Quick! Climb aboard the Bebop Express.

This rockin', rhythmic railroad adventure celebrates the uniqueness of America and the beboppin', doo-woppin' sound of jazz, from jammin' New York City all the way to New Orleans.

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Overview

The whistle's a-blowin',
the engine's a-pumpin' —
conductors are dancin'
and passengers jumpin'!
Quick! Climb aboard the Bebop Express.

This rockin', rhythmic railroad adventure celebrates the uniqueness of America and the beboppin', doo-woppin' sound of jazz, from jammin' New York City all the way to New Orleans. With bold, powerful art by the "New York Times" best-selling team of Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher, H. L. Panahi's text comes alive with a pulse and beat all its own.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Panahi's ode to the jazz era invites readers on a heart-thumping, hand-clapping train ride from New York City to New Orleans. The opening full-bleed spread shows passengers, dressed in zoot suits for the men, and elegant coat-and-hat ensembles for the ladies, boarding "the jazziest train from the east to the west." As the train pulls out, Sax Man stands between cars, playing "blee blee, doot doot wah!/ Blee blah, blee blah, doot doot bah!" As the train passes through 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, Drum Man, pictured with sunglasses, suspenders, hat and five arms, plays an assortment of trash cans ("He hits it, dips it, rolls it, flips it"). A rooftop bass player "snaps and pops it while he strums it" in Chicago, while a Song Lady from St. Louis entertains the dining car ("riffs glide from her lips just like rich buttermilk"). In New Orleans, a crowd gathers to see the four musicians perform together. Johnson and Fancher's (New York's Bravest) complex collage work incorporates photographic images of multi-ethnic faces, as well as pictures of buildings, trains cars, and instruments that tilt at uneven angles. Brick walls, train tracks (occasionally linked by keyboards and sheet music), and numerous other patterns form intriguing urban backdrops (a rooftop boasts a blue floral print, a station platform consists of tiny newsprint reading "chug-a chug-a Choo!"). The artists' visuals echo the rhythmic, energetic text, inspired by the improvisational legacy of this uniquely American art form. Ages 3-8. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-With a rhythmic "...chug-a chug-a Choo! Choo!" this train adventure is a cumulative expression of bebop. A New York saxophonist, a "slam-jammin'" drummer from Philadelphia, a bassist from Chicago, and a scat singer from St. Louis all head for New Orleans aboard the Bebop Express, "the jazziest train from the east to the west." Variations in font accentuate the onomatopoeia of the text. "Blee bah, blee bah./Doot doot bah!/Blee blee, doot doot./Blee! Doot! Wah!" Collages of vintage photos place jewel-toned figures on the train and in city streets. More alert readers will discover musical references in the text incorporated into the illustrations, the dining car's wallpaper design of fragmented instruments, and music notation on clothing, buildings, and puffs of smoke. Johnson and Fancher perfectly match the text's catchy repetition with a blur of images reflecting the speed of the instrumentalist.-Mary Elam, Forman Elementary School, Plano, TX Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
What is it about jazz and children's books? It's a long way from Raffi to Dizzy, but there'll always be another book seeking to bridge the gap. Unfortunately, most of them, by sticking with the tried-and-true idiom of picture-bookspeak, fall far short, and this is no exception. Here, a train travels from New York to New Orleans, picking up musicians-a sax player here, a drummer there-until one smokin' combo rocks the tracks. Johnson and Fancher have done a splendid job, deviating from their customary muralistic style to create collage paintings that mimic hand-tinted black-and-white photographs. These paintings are cut and layered, the sudden sharp edges and abruptly varied perspectives evoking the syncopated urban rhythms of jazz. The text, however, mostly sticks to the omnipresent, distinctly un-jazzy rhyming couplet. Ho hum. Onomatopoetic jazz sounds ("blee blee, doot doot") rendered in a multitude of typefaces attempt to relieve the monotony of the old standard, but in the end, the train comes off the track, the jazz beat overwhelmed by the lockstep verse scheme. Enjoy the art, but get out a copy of Mysterious Thelonious or Charlie Parker Played Bebop for the real deal. (Picture book. 3-8)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060571900
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/24/2005
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
10.68(w) x 9.76(h) x 0.36(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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