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Bring on that Beat

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Overview

Pluck a fat bass, play me an ace.

Trumpet a song, groove the night long. Saxophone jive, keep us alive!

When a jazz trio begins playing under a streetlamp, everyone comes out to listen and dance. It's Harlem in the 1930s, and jazz has the power to make them groove. Combining her fine oil painting style with computer-manipulated colors, Rachel represents the shapes and colors of jazz in a tribute to Duke Ellington with a nod toward painters Klee...

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Overview

Pluck a fat bass, play me an ace.

Trumpet a song, groove the night long. Saxophone jive, keep us alive!

When a jazz trio begins playing under a streetlamp, everyone comes out to listen and dance. It's Harlem in the 1930s, and jazz has the power to make them groove. Combining her fine oil painting style with computer-manipulated colors, Rachel represents the shapes and colors of jazz in a tribute to Duke Ellington with a nod toward painters Klee and Kandinsky. Operating almost wordlessly, the innovative visuals are sprinkled with riffs of slang in snappy couplets-telling a bigger story of how the influence of jazz goes far beyond the neighborhood in this book. This tour de force brings jazz alive for the youngest children.

Illustrations and rhyming text evoke the rhythms of jazz music.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Some false notes won't keep most kids from enjoying Isadora's (Ben's Trumpet) tribute to the jazz that filled the streets of 1930s Harlem. Rather uninspired rhymed couplets make up the text: "Bring on that beat,/ Wake up the street./ Saxophone jive,/ keep us alive." Yet the visuals succeed in bringing the era to life. Full-spread black-and-white oil paintings depict a humming Harlem whose residents are seen either making or enjoying music. Small, electric-hued watercolor designs, laid over these scenes with the use of a computer, represent the tunes emanating from a variety of instruments played from stoop and rooftop. Though younger readers may have trouble making the connection between musical strains and these multicolored freeform shapes, the vivid splashes jazz up the otherwise muted graphics and express the energy that emanates from the music. Ages 4-8. (Jan.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Some false notes won't keep most kids from enjoying Isadora's (Ben's Trumpet) tribute to the jazz that filled the streets of 1930s Harlem. Rather uninspired rhymed couplets make up the text: "Bring on that beat,/ Wake up the street./ Saxophone jive,/ keep us alive." Yet the visuals succeed in bringing the era to life. Full-spread black-and-white oil paintings depict a humming Harlem whose residents are seen either making or enjoying music. Small, electric-hued watercolor designs, laid over these scenes with the use of a computer, represent the tunes emanating from a variety of instruments played from stoop and rooftop. Though younger readers may have trouble making the connection between musical strains and these multicolored freeform shapes, the vivid splashes jazz up the otherwise muted graphics and express the energy that emanates from the music. Ages 4-8. (Jan.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
We are on the streets of Harlem in the 1930s. Each double page has a brief, rhymed couplet—"Bring on that beat, Wake up the street" that reflects the sound of the jazz trio that turns on the heat for the folks nearby, then moves to the rooftops and on to the whole city. The double-page city scenes, people and streets alike, are created in oil paint in shades of gray to black, emphasizing the dark of the night. The musicians and youngsters are depicted dancing, moving to the rhythms. Superimposed on these images are odd bits of brightly colored shapes, watercolor designs manipulated on the computer, derived from non-objective paintings. They sway and gyrate like a musical counterpoint while on one double page, colored silhouettes dance across piano keys. It's hard to sit still for this one. 2002, G.P. Putnam's Sons, $14.99. Ages 5 to 9. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz AGES: 5 6 7 8 9
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-In this exuberant celebration of jazz, black endpapers usher readers into a quiet city neighborhood, in Harlem in the '30s, where a trio emerges from a jazz hall to "Wake up the street" with a jam session under the lights. People begin to peek out of shops and gather around the stoop where the musicians "Bring on that beat." Children and adults alike begin to swing and before long, the music moves up to the roof. More people join in, leaning out of windows, congregating on the fire escape, and dancing on the rooftop. Isadora's black-and-white spreads suggest a bygone era when boys wore knickers and cars looked very different. The art is executed in oil and overlaid with computer-generated watercolor splashes of Klee- and Kandinsky-like designs that simulate the sounds. Even the buildings seem to sway to the beat. One interesting spread depicts children in yellow-orange-red silhouette dancing on piano keys that extend from the buildings as the Man in the Moon, with the face of Duke Ellington, looks on. While the rhyming text, which appears in large negative type on a black background, is minimal, its constant urging to "bring on that beat" and its jazz rhythm works powerfully with the illustrations to evoke the excitement and swelling of the music from a quiet corner to a building to the whole city. Pair this offering with Chris Raschka's Charlie Parker Played Be Bop (Orchard, 1992) and Isadora's Ben's Trumpet (Greenwillow, 1979) for a swinging good time.-Marianne Saccardi, Norwalk Community College, CT Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An unusual attempt to convey the feeling and sound of jazz in pictures. Billed as a "tribute to Duke Ellington, with a nod toward Klee and Kandinsky," this opens almost entirely in black and white, wordlessly panning over the streets of Depression-era Harlem, the only spot of color being the giant neon "JAZZ" sign. And then the musicians begin to play: their instruments send blobs and jags of color splattering over the page, a visual evocation of the complex harmonies of Ellington's compositions. As the music picks up, pedestrians become dancers, until the whole city is grooving. Isadora's (Nick Plays Baseball, 2001, etc.) "camera" pulls further and further back, until the viewer sees first the neighborhood, with people dancing on the rooftops, and then the whole city lit up, darts of color zooming out toward the viewer. It's a novel and largely successful pictorial imaging of sound in a mostly silent medium. But there are words to be read aloud, and this text, a series of slangy rhyming couplets, lacks the syncopated inventiveness of either the illustrations or Ellington's music itself. One remarkable spread depicts children, in yellow, orange, and red silhouette dancing on a piano keyboard, with Ellington's face and the jazzy blobs of color superimposed over skyscrapers in the background; the text reads, "Duke Ellington / King o' the sun. / Cool as a cat, / He's where it's at." Buy this, put on an Ellington CD, and let the illustrations swing. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399232329
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/28/2002
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Meet the Author

Rachel Isadora began dancing at the age of eight. She trained at George Balanchine's School of American Ballet and has danced professionally. Rachel lives in New York City with her family.

Rachel Isadora has illustrated many books set in the world of dance and theater, including Opening Night, My Ballet Class, Swan Lake, The Little Match Girl, and Ben's Trumpet, which received the Caldecott Honor Award and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Award.

copyright © 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2002

    Jazz!!

    I loved this book. I am an adult musician and went to B and N to buy a book for my nephew. I came across this book and thought that everyone should know about it. It is great. My nephew who is 6 really got into it and was dancing all over. It makes you want to listen to jazz and get up and move.

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