Hip Cat

Overview

This is the jazzy story of a hip, saxophone playing cat who heads to the big city to seek fame and fortune. Once there, he finds that the top dogs own the cool clubs, and that sometimes you have to work at the Doggie Diner to make ends meet. But he also learns how important it is to "do what you love to do and do it well!" The rhythmic text is filled with the same ebb and flow that characterizes jazz music, and the brilliant illustrations bring alive a magical world where cool cats dig hot jazz and where, if you ...

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Overview

This is the jazzy story of a hip, saxophone playing cat who heads to the big city to seek fame and fortune. Once there, he finds that the top dogs own the cool clubs, and that sometimes you have to work at the Doggie Diner to make ends meet. But he also learns how important it is to "do what you love to do and do it well!" The rhythmic text is filled with the same ebb and flow that characterizes jazz music, and the brilliant illustrations bring alive a magical world where cool cats dig hot jazz and where, if you try hard enough, no dream is out of reach.

Hip Cat journeys to the city by the bay to live his dream of being a jazz musician.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
School Library Journal, Starred Review, January 1994
A cool, saxophone-playing cat from the sticks heads for the bright lights of the big city to find fame and fortune. Oobie-do John gets his first gig at Minnie's Can Do, a jumping joint that's long on jazz, but short on cash. To earn a living, he has to be a short-order cook at the Doggie Diner and play his horn for pennies at the town tourist traps, but he never skips a beat. Finally, Oobie-do's music begins to be the talk of the jazz scene, and that hip feline becomes the coolest cat of all. Here is a one-of-a-kind book with a great message—it encourages youngsters to do what they love, and to work at it to the best of their ability. Hubbard's vivid illustrations sparkle like the paintings of Matisse and offer just the right accompaniment to the jazzy text, which jumps across the pages and takes an occasional twist. Pre-readers may miss some of the subtlety here, but the fresh music of the narrative makes a terrific read-aloud. It will work just as well with older children because of its sassy style. Just pop in a cassette by Dizzy or Miles, and read, man, read.

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, Starred Review, August 16, 1993
Only squares won't dig the beatnik slang and improvisational rhymes of this beboppable, unstoppable tale. Sax-playing cat Oobie-do takes the train to San Francisco, where he tries to "make jazzzzzy music." But being a musician doesn't pay the bills, and Oobie-do becomes a short-order cook at the Doggie Diner. He doesn't stay down on his luck for long, though; Minnie, impecunious owner of Minnie's Can Do nightclub, encourages him to play a gig, and pretty soon the joint jumps to Oobie-do's tunes. London, striking a very different note here than in A Koala for Katie and creates vibrant spreads that ideally complement the narrative; their unsullied bright colors, smooth edges and serpentine forms are reminiscent of such jazz-inspired abstract canvases as Stuart Davis's The Mellow Pad. Playful and optimistic, this story of dreams—and persistence rewarded—is the cool cat's meow. Ages 3-8.

HORN BOOK, April 1994
Illustrated by Woodleigh Hubbard. Hip Cat plays the saxophone in San Francisco. At first rejected by the big clubs which are owned by dogs, he keeps practicing and playing until he is in demand all over town. The book's message—"do what you love to do, and do it well!"—receives the most convincing and least didactic treatment possible. The rhyming text is peppered with jazz slang, internal rhymes, and unexpected meter shifts reminiscent of jazz licks; the busy paintings feature bright colors, strong shapes, and repeated patterns as well as lots of cat, dog, and jazz humor.

Here is a one-of-a-kind book with a great message—it encourages youngsters to do what they love, and to work at it to the best of their ability. School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Only squares won't dig the beatnik slang and improvisational rhymes of this beboppable, unstoppable tale. Sax-playing cat Oobie-do takes the train to San Francisco, where he tries to ``make jazzzzzy music.'' But being a musician doesn't pay the bills, and Oobie-do becomes a short-order cook at the Doggie Diner. He doesn't stay down on his luck for long, though; Minnie, impecunious owner of Minnie's Can Do nightclub, encourages him to play a gig, and pretty soon the joint jumps to Oobie-do's tunes. London, striking a very different note here than in A Koala for Katie and The Eyes of Gray Wolf (also reviewed this issue), captures the sounds and rhythms of bohemia: ``Scat, cat. Go, cat, go! Hip Cat daddy-o's got a horn to blow!'' Hubbard ( C Is for Curious: An ABC of Feelings ) creates vibrant spreads that ideally complement the narrative; their unsullied bright colors, smooth edges and serpentine forms are reminiscent of such jazz-inspired abstract canvases as Stuart Davis's The Mellow Pad. Playful and optimistic, this story of dreams--and persistence rewarded--is the cool cat's meow. Ages 3-8. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
Set in a jazzy, San Francisco scene, Jonathan London introduces us to Hip Cat, a hep cat, a mad cat, a rad cat, whose dream is to make it big playing the sax in those cool clubs where jazz in king. Musicians know that nothing comes easy in life, but this Hip Cat won't give up. He makes it in a big way because this daddy-o tells his tale with music. A picture book for the big kids, like me, who are hooked on jazz and art. The words and pictures twist and turn as though spun out of a saxophone. Get a copy of Hip Cat and put on a CD of Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, or your personal favorite and just enjoy! 1996 (orig.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-A cool, saxophone-playing cat from the sticks heads for the bright lights of the big city to find fame and fortune. Oobie-do John gets his first gig at Minnie's Can Do, a jumping joint that's long on jazz, but short on cash. To earn a living, he has to be a short-order cook at the Doggie Diner and play his horn for pennies at the town tourist traps, but he never skips a beat. Finally, Oobie-do's music begins to be the talk of the jazz scene, and that hip feline becomes the coolest cat of all. Here is a one-of-a-kind book with a great message-it encourages youngsters to do what they love, and to work at it to the best of their ability. Hubbard's vivid illustrations sparkle like the paintings of Matisse and offer just the right accompaniment to the jazzy text, which jumps across the pages and takes an occasional twist. Pre-readers may miss some of the subtlety here, but the fresh music of the narrative makes a terrific read-aloud. It will work just as well with older children because of its sassy style. Just pop in a cassette by Dizzy or Miles, and read, man, read.-Virginia E. Jeschelnig, Willoughby-Eastlake Public Library, Willowick, OH
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811814898
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
  • Publication date: 9/1/1996
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 1 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: AD570L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 11.00 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.12 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan London is the author of more than fifty books for children. He lives in Northern California with his family. Read more about the inspiration behind Jonathan's work.

Woodleigh Hubbard — a resident of Colorado — has studied at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D. C., the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and the Academy of Beaux Arts in Paris. She is the author of two best-selling children's titles from

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