Mysterious Thelonious by Chris Raschka, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Mysterious Thelonious

Mysterious Thelonious

by Chris Raschka
     
 

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In his second tribute to a jazz giant, Caldecott Honor Medalist Chris Raschka matches the 12 musical tones of the diatonic scale to the 12 color values of the color wheel, then sets paint strokes for notes and color washes for harmonies, creating an astonishing tribute to musical genius Thelonious Monk. Full color.

Overview

In his second tribute to a jazz giant, Caldecott Honor Medalist Chris Raschka matches the 12 musical tones of the diatonic scale to the 12 color values of the color wheel, then sets paint strokes for notes and color washes for harmonies, creating an astonishing tribute to musical genius Thelonious Monk. Full color.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Raschka (Charlie Parker Played Be Bop), one of the most original illustrators at work today, is at it again, pushing the limits of his chosen craft. Here, bound in a delightful hand-sized volume, his paean to jazz great Thelonious Monk doubles as a clever visual pun. By matching the notes of the chromatic scale (do, di, re, me, mi...) to the 12 color values of the color wheel, and then placing each word of text within a color-coded square, readers can not only read it, but literally play it like a musical score. "Misterioso," the Monk composition represented here, begins simply (i.e., lots of white space visually), but just as the musical piece grows more complex, so does the visual picture as pigment washes are added to represent harmonies and improvisations, and the pages fairly roil with color. Although young ones may find the book's rich double entendre difficult to grasp, they'll certainly enjoy the musician himself, cavorting across the pages decked out in hip blue shades and a checked cap. And young-at-heart Monk fans will feel Raschka's passion for his subject as he renders the pianist incomplete without his piano (their shapes and colors answer one another across the double-page spreads in melon greens or cool reds). Words swoop and dive across the pages ("He played the music of freedom/ Jazz is the music of freedom") yet, like the musical form itself, return to the simple theme with which the book began: "This is a story about his music." In creating this homage to one great artist, Raschka has honored all the innovative artists who inspire othersand once again proves he belongs among them. All ages. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Whether or not you know anything about jazz, this tribute to Thelonious Monk will bring pleasure. Raschka has presented a combination of color and text to give kids a "feel" for the music. The syllables dance across the pages like the notes on sheet music. You can hear and see the rise and fall of the music and the repetition and variations that constitute jazz. Interspersed are amusing watercolor images of Monk and his piano. The presentation is intriguing enough that kids may want to sample Monk's music, especially "Misterioso," the inspiration for the book.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-5In this brilliantly conceived tribute to the jazz composer and musician, Raschka has captured the music and the man in a picture book as original as Monk himself. Using the provocative "Misterioso" as his inspiration, Raschka set his words to the melody and let them fall on the page just as they would if you were listening to the music. But his "notes" are the 12 values on the color wheel matched to the corresponding 12 tones on the chromatic scale. He begins with a nearly all-white page, the colors running up one side, the page lined with a grid that will gradually be filled in by bands and squares of jewel-like watercolor as well as the lyrical text. The oh-so-hip Monk is also hanging out, sometimes crouched over his piano, sometimes holding a word, sometimes dancing or leaping much as his music does. The genius of Monk was that his notes often defied convention, stretching what was acceptable even to his fellow jazz musicians. "Wrong" notes surprised listeners and created angular melodies like no other composer's. But, as the hand-lettered text states, "He played not one wrong note, not one....He played the music of freedom. Jazz is the music of freedom." The genius of Raschka is that he has been able to translate that music into a book like no other, introducing it to young listeners and confirming its brilliance to adults already familiar with it. Like Monk, he is a master of making extraordinarily complex concepts seem simple No one should be deprived of this gem.Karen Breen, Library Power, New York City
Kirkus Reviews
If part of the joy in Charlie Parker Played Be Bop (1992) was in the sheer bounce of the words, then this book makes music even for readers who don't know who jazz great Thelonious Monk was. The words slither all over the page, written in Raschka's signature script: "This is a story about Thelonious Monk and his music. There were no wrong notes on his piano/had no wrong notes, oh no." Each spread contains Monk and his piano in various guises on a background that comes as close to synesthesia as possible. Raschka matches the 12 musical notes of the chromatic scale to the 12 values of the color wheel, and makes harmonies of watercolor washes. First the pages are filled with just a few squares of color; more and more boxes of color come into play as counterpoint to the text and figures, until Monk and his piano rest on a crazy quilt of colors. It sounds difficult for children, but its message of "no wrong notes" is loud and clear. Artistically way cool.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780531330579
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
09/28/1997
Edition description:
Library
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
6.44(w) x 7.42(h) x 0.30(d)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author


Chris Raschka is the Caldecott Award-winning illustrator of A BALL FOR DAISY and THE HELLO, GOODBYE WINDOW. He is also the illustrator of YO! YES? (which won a Caldecott Honor), SOURPUSS AND SWEETIE PIE, CHARLIE PARKER PLAYED BE BOP, and FARMY FARM. He lives with his wife and son in New York City.

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