The Washington Post
Piano Starts Here: The Young Art Tatumby Robert Andrew Parker, Robert A. Parker
Regardless of whether they’ve heard of jazz or Art Tatum, young readers will appreciate how Parker uses simple, lyrical storytelling and colorful, energetic ink-and-wash illustrations to show the world as young Art Tatum might have seen it. Tatum came from modest beginnings and was nearly blind, but his passion for the piano and his acute memory for any sound… See more details below
Regardless of whether they’ve heard of jazz or Art Tatum, young readers will appreciate how Parker uses simple, lyrical storytelling and colorful, energetic ink-and-wash illustrations to show the world as young Art Tatum might have seen it. Tatum came from modest beginnings and was nearly blind, but his passion for the piano and his acute memory for any sound that he heard drove him to become a virtuoso who was revered by both classical and jazz pianists alike. Included in the back matter is a biography and bibliography.
The Washington Post
Parker, who illustrated Ballet of the Elephantsand Action Jackson, makes his writing debut with a biography of famed jazz pianist Art Tatum, which takes some creative license in its straightforward, first-person narrative. "Bad eyes can't keep me from playing the piano," says a young Tatum. "My hands get to know the keys, the short black ones on top and long white ones below. I play more and more. And more." The uncluttered storytelling offers a chronological journey of Tatum's rise to fame: his first recital in church; a night of playing moon-themed songs while neighborhood children catch fireflies; his first gig at a bar. From the twins next door who help him walk to school to a café owner who lets him use his player piano, the story incorporates the people who were important in Tatum's early life-his hardworking parents, foremost. A subtle sophistication shines through Parker's easygoing yet dynamic watercolors. Roughly hewn sketch lines give the characters an almost abstract quality, but their faces and gestures project emotion nonetheless, as in vignettes of a bartender smiling contentedly or Tatum's mother sitting in the shadows by a radio, both listening to Tatum play. Parker's unhurried account could inspire visions of jazz greatness among young musicians. Ages 4-8. (Jan.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
K-Gr 4- Breathing life into words about music for young children is never easy, but Parker makes it appear effortless. Perhaps this is due, in part, to his own understandings as a jazz musician. His first-person account about the early years of Tatum's life is a feast for the senses. Beautifully paced, spare sentences accompany introductory watercolors of the legendary jazz pianist's family. Viewers watch the toddler on tiptoe reaching for the keys that provided delight to him from this early stage. As the narrative develops and Tatum's impaired vision begins to fade, the lines lengthen, incorporating the sounds, smells, and physical sensations that were much clearer to him. Listeners can imagine the scents of furniture polish and flowers as the boy plays in church or the vibration of his father's footsteps as he dances to his son's music in the living room. Parker's palette and style vary to create just the right ambience, with compositions ranging from a brightly lit snowscape with realistic figures racing down the path to moody, impressionistic backgrounds swirling around Tatum playing his beloved "Humoresque" on the road as a young man. Notes from the author describe his personal encounter with the musician and provide an overview of his life. A bibliography of adult resources is included; there is little available for children. Showcase this title with Chris Raschka's Charlie Parker Played Be Bop (Scholastic, 1992) and Andrea Davis Pinkney's Ella Fitzgerald (Hyperion, 2002) along with some CDs for a joint-jumping, heart-pumping ride.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public LibraryCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
“Fusing Parker’s artistic talent and passion for jazz (he’s a musician, too), this sensitively embellished biography is totally on time.”
Starred review, Booklist, February 2, 2008:
“The simple, direct language shows the power of the music for both Tatum and his listeners.”
Starred review, School Library Journal, February 2008:
“Breathing life into words about music for young children is never easy, but Parker makes it appear effortless.”
Review, The San Francisco Chronicle, February 24, 2008:
"It's a joyful portrait of an innovative artist who was peerless in music ... A jazz musician himself, Parker brings a deep love and understanding to his subject."
- Random House Children's Books
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 11.19(w) x 9.29(h) x 0.39(d)
- Age Range:
- 4 - 8 Years
Meet the Author
Robert Andrew Parker has illustrated numerous acclaimed books for children, including the Caldecott Honor Book Popcorn and Ma Goodness by Edna Mitchell Preston, the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winner Cold Feet by Cynthia DeFelice, and Action Jackson by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, which received six starred reviews and was named a Robert F. Sibert Honor Book. Mr. Parker is a jazz musician. He lives in West Cornwall, Connecticut.
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I love jazz,piano and art!i have got to try this!