Jazz Baby

Jazz Baby

5.0 6
by Lisa Wheeler, R. Gregory Christie

One swinging, singing, hip-hop-bopping family romps with their new baby.
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One swinging, singing, hip-hop-bopping family romps with their new baby.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

With a "clap-clap-clap!" and a "snap-snap-snap," the catchy rhythm of Wheeler's (Mammoths on the Move) cadenced text will instantly grab readers with its up-tempo beat: "Grandpa TOOT-TOOTS./ Granny sings scat./ Bitty-boppin' Baby goes RAT-TAT-TAT!" The fun begins as the eponymous baby awakens in his crib to Daddy taking out a record labeled "Jazz Baby." Everyone-from Sister and Brother to cousins and neighbors (in a rainbow of skin tones)-partakes in an impromptu, upbeat musical dance party, with Baby at the center. His African-American family snuggles, holds and hoofs it up with him, and, with his oversize head and large black eyes, he remains the focal point of most spreads. Christie's (Brothers in Hope) long-limbed characters with tapered hands and feet glide and bop across the pages, while bold type at slanted angles mimics their movements. In one scene with a musical staff ribboned through it, notes are configured to represent drum and bass players, and Baby holds a quarter note like a rattle. The jam session comes full-circle when Baby returns to his bed after hugs, smiles and a blues tune from Daddy. But kids won't be nearly so ready to settle down. After they hear the concluding "OH YEAH!" they're likely to clamor for repeats of this buoyant musical jaunt. Ages 3-7. (Nov.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature
Interacting with infants in any way helps to speed their development. Reading a book about singing and playing music to children can be as beneficial as singing to them. A straightforward poem highlights the way people interact when they hear jazz. While brother and sister work on homework, they also tap their hands and snap their fingers while baby claps his hands. Mama and Daddy and Grandpa and Grandma sing and play instruments, and baby sings along as well. The repetitive nature of the text invokes images of jazz and offers a somewhat soothing rhythm when read aloud. The illustrations are colorful and fun and add depth and character to the simple text. Reviewer: Danielle Williams
School Library Journal

To the contagious rhythm of the text, Baby and his extended family members be-bop and hip-hop, and generally make jazzy music. "Brother's hands tap./Sister's hands snap./Itty-bitty Baby's hands/CLAP-CLAP-CLAP!" Meanwhile, the youngster is passed from arm to arm, bouncing and bopping, smiling and waving, until-worn out-he allows himself to be tucked into his crib. Against stark white pages, Christie's paintings in sepia/ochre tones highlighted with brighter shades of green, blue, violet, and red add to the happy, hoppin' scene. The stylized African Americans with happy, expressive faces, outlined in free-form black line, dance and sway across the pages along with the words (in large and supersize font). Read aloud with a strong emphasis on the beat and a little body movement, too, this lively poetic piece will charm many a little person and provide a joyful musical experience for readers, as well.
—Susan SchepsCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
A snappy rhyming text celebrates an extended family's joyous gyrations to the jazz spinning on the turntable. From waking to sleep, Baby's right in the thick of it, as siblings, grandparents and cousins move and groove: "So they BOOM-BOOM-BOOM / and they HIP-HIP-HOP / and the bouncin' baby boogies with a BOP-BOP-BOP." Wheeler's verse scans beautifully and begs to be read aloud-danced to, even-making this a fine choice for preschool and kindergarten story times. Christie's bold, double-paged gouache compositions locate this colorfully garbed, expressively hip family within an equally vibrant community. As Baby's big dark eyes get glassy with fatigue, the party winds down. "Daddy sings blues. / Mama sings sweet. / While that snoozy-woozy baby . . . / . . . sleeps deep, deep, deep." Exultant and infectious, from the red-and-yellow-striped endpapers to the final "OH YEAH!" (Picture book. 3-6)

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Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
10.18(w) x 10.88(h) x 0.41(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

LISA WHEELER is the author of many irresistible read-aloud picture books. She lives near Detroit, Michigan.
R. GREGORY CHRISTIE is an outstanding talent in picture books and has won three Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honors. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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