Jazz, Pizzazz And The Silver Threads

Overview

Every day 9-year-old Calvin Hastings wishes for a pet. But somehow his parents have gotten the idea that he's irresponsible. So what if Calvin has a hard time concentrating on homework and remembering things? He certainly would have no trouble paying attention to a puppy or a kitten or a rabbit!

Just when Calvin starts to lose hope, things suddenly pick up. His neighbor, Jenny Teitletot, buys a hamster for her magic act, and Calvin discovers ...

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Overview

Every day 9-year-old Calvin Hastings wishes for a pet. But somehow his parents have gotten the idea that he's irresponsible. So what if Calvin has a hard time concentrating on homework and remembering things? He certainly would have no trouble paying attention to a puppy or a kitten or a rabbit!

Just when Calvin starts to lose hope, things suddenly pick up. His neighbor, Jenny Teitletot, buys a hamster for her magic act, and Calvin discovers jazz. Soon, they're all ready for show biz—the razzmatazz has just begun!

Nine-year-old Calvin's dream of having a pet of his own is partially fulfilled when his neighbor Jenny gets a hamster named Pizzazz for her magic act.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Most kids long for a pet, and Calvin is no different. When his friend Jenny gets a hamster for her magic act, he knows that this is the pet he has been longing for. Life is never simple. Pizzazz, the hamster, must live with Ms. Eva who takes care of Jenny, Calvin and his younger brother Monk every day after school. Pizzazz is lost and rescued, and Calvin ends up being triple-grounded. However, all turns out well; Calvin saves the day for the community talent show and ends up with the pet he wanted so badly. It's lots of fun with a cast of delightful characters.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-Calvin is surrounded by people with various interests and talents. His baby-sitter, Ms. Eva, is also a dance teacher; his brother, Monk, is a seven-year-old lover of poetry; and Jenny, who also stays with Ms. Eva in the afternoons, is obsessed with magic. All Calvin wants is a pet, a furry buddy to befriend and feed. When Jenny gets a hamster to use in her act, Calvin loves and takes care of it. Still, he wishes he could be part of the community arts show they are all planning. He finally finds a way to help out, and along the way learns to appreciate the others' passions. The theme of an ordinary kid with an ordinary wish is well developed, with the ensemble of characters playing off one another in interesting and often funny ways. The general mood is optimistic and upbeat, even when things are not going well for Calvin. The descriptive passages are quite poetic, especially when the boy first discovers jazz. Some of the ideas that Quattlebaum expresses may be a bit over the heads of the intended audience, but just enough so to stir some questions and offer a challenge.-Connie Parker, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Cleveland, OH
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440411505
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 5/12/1997
  • Pages: 120
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.22 (w) x 7.68 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

"I grew up with three brothers and three sisters and many, many pets and I often draw on childhood adventures (and misadventures) in creating stories and poems. My current everyday life also provides lots of inspiration for my writing. For example, my first book, Jackson Jones and the Puddle of Thorns blossomed (pun intended!) from my small plot in a city community garden where, like Jackson, the main character, I seem to grow more weeds than flowers.

"The hamster in Jazz, Pizzazz, and the Silver Threads is based on several real-life, mischievous hamsters. The ideas for Jenny's magic `mess-ups' in Jazz, Pizzazz and its forthcoming sequel, The Magic Squad and the Dog of Great Potential, come from my husband's experiences as a kid magician. And the poems for A Year on My Street are all based on the people and happenings in my neighborhood, from feeding pigeons to listening to the sax man.

"Before becoming a freelance writer, I worked as a research writer/editor for Children's National Medical Center in Washington, DC. These days, in addition to writing children's books, I direct Arts Project Renaissance, a creative writing program for older adults, and teach creative writing workshops to folks of all ages at local schools, libraries, and Georgetown University's continuing education division."

Mary Quattlebaum's first book, Jackson Jones and the Puddle of Thorns, is the winner of the first annual Marguerite de Angeli Prize for middle-grade fiction. She has also written Jazz, Pizzazz, and the Silver Threads; its companion, The Magic Squad and the Dog of Great Potential, to be published in March 1997; andA Year on My Street, a First Choice Chapter Book for younger readers. She received a B.A. from the College of William and Mary and an M.A. from Georgetown University. Recipient of the Novel in Progress/Judy Blume Grant from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, she has been published in Children's Digest and Ladybug, as well as several literary magazines. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband.

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