Shake, Rattle & Roll: The Founders of Rock & Roll

Overview

From Bill Haley and His Comets to James Brown and his Famous Flames, this fun and fact-filled introduction to the pioneers of rock & roll will have you dancing in the aisles. These are fourteen original stars who created a brand-new sound almost fifty years ago?they influenced a generation of teenagers and inspired many of today?s most important musicians.

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Overview

From Bill Haley and His Comets to James Brown and his Famous Flames, this fun and fact-filled introduction to the pioneers of rock & roll will have you dancing in the aisles. These are fourteen original stars who created a brand-new sound almost fifty years ago—they influenced a generation of teenagers and inspired many of today’s most important musicians.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
* "Fourteen of the originators of rock & roll are featured in this energetic, lighthearted introduction to the 1950s 'musical earthquake-that shook everything up.' Each double-page spread features a one-page biography facing a full-page portrait of a musician surrounded by whimsical items connected with the artist's best-known hits."  —School Library Journal, starred review
 
"All hail rock and roll in a book that's fun to look at and informative."  —Booklist
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this sanitized compendium of 1950s rock stars, debut children's book writer George-Warren and Levine (Wig!) set themselves the task of translating music and personality to the page. Each spread features a capsule biography of a musician next to his or her portrait, painted on Masonite in an American primitive style and set in a found-object frame. Bill Haley comes first, along with his trademark "one, two, three o'clock, four o'clock ROCK" and a night sky full of "comets"; unfortunately, the writing is straight out of squaresville ("Although Bill Haley was a grownup, he sang about things teens liked and he spoke their language"). Little Richard appears against a glaring yellow background, and the text, which ripples out like sound waves from his portrait, trumpets his signature shriek: "A wop bop a loo bop a wop bam boom, tutti frutti, oh rooti!" Yet these immortal lyrics aren't as punchy in print, despite George-Warren's encouraging remark, "Wow, what a song!" Only a recap of Bo Diddley's signature beat ("Thump-a-thump-a-thump, a-thump-thump") suggests rock's catchy rhythms. The accounts politely bypass legend-making stories of Elvis's pelvis and Jerry Lee Lewis's scandalous marriage and only hint at rock's notorious racism and sexism; the volume cheers pivotal African-American artists like Chuck Berry and James Brown, but lets R&B singer LaVern Baker and rockabilly star Wanda Jackson represent all women rockers. Although oldies fans can appreciate Levine's homemade images, the set of icons resembles a quaint (and quiet) butterfly collection. This tame encyclopedia doesn't have much soul, and the uninitiated may wonder what all the fuss was about. Ages 8-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Fats Domino, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly—how many of these names are part of our popular collective psyche? The founders of rock and roll are introduced here, with loads of fun and interesting detail. Many of them were poor and went through tough times, but they all came through on the wave of their music, enthralling a generation and changing the face of popular American music forever. The text is casual and funny, but obviously professional and accurate. It reads like a combination of CD liner notes and lightning-quick, thumbnail biographical profiles. The roots of rock and roll are fascinating, and there is real pathos in this telling. One minute you are laughing at some outrageous song lyrics and the next, your eyes are filled with tears at the early tragic deaths. The illustrations complement the text perfectly. They are brilliant little folk-art masterpieces, capturing both the hilarity and poignancy of the subject. Each likeness is so true. Author, illustrator and publisher obviously loved this project and had a ball doing it. It is recommended for all ages. Parents will be hard-pressed not to adore it, older kids will find interesting tidbits and younger children will enjoy the illustrations. 2001, Houghton Mifflin, $15.00. Ages 5 up. Reviewer: Nancy Partridge
School Library Journal
Gr 4 Up-Fourteen of the originators of rock & roll are featured in this energetic, lighthearted introduction to the 1950s "musical earthquake-that shook everything up." Each double-page spread features a one-page biography facing a full-page portrait of a musician surrounded by whimsical items connected with the artist's best-known hits. Little Richard, Carl Perkins, Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Wanda Jackson, Ritchie Valens, and James Brown are among the performers profiled. Information includes the musicians' childhood musical backgrounds, how their careers began, short descriptions of their greatest hits and of any unique clothing or hairstyles for which they were famous, and a little about their accomplishments beyond the 1950s. An excellent introduction describes the roots of rock & roll. Old picture frames, some gilded and some simple weathered wood, are used to frame each mixed-media, folk-art-flavored painting. LaVern Baker's "Tweedlee Dee" is recalled by birds hopping across the page, while Jerry Lee Lewis is shown playing a piano from which flames, fiery musical notes, and one great ball of fire emerge. A wonderfully entertaining browsing book that will also fill a gap in most music collections.-Ginny Gustin, Sonoma County Library System, Santa Rosa, CA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Fourteen of the men and women at the roots of rock 'n roll are given star billing in this energetic, young, collective biography. The one-page introduction allows George-Warren to trace in broad strokes the mix of African rhythm, European melody, church, and field music that gave rise in the 1950s to rock music, and how rock music brought forth most of today's pop, from rap to country. Each one-page biographical sketch faces a full-page acrylic painting in Levine's naïf style, with oversize heads, flat decorative backgrounds, and three-dimensional frames. The text page has a small, related motif: a hill of blueberries for Fats Domino, a Teddy Bear for Elvis, the famed horn-rimmed glasses for Buddy Holly. The biographies are straightforward and hold odd nuggets of engaging information: that Carl Perkins and his band's car accident allowed Elvis to get a number-one hit with Perkins's "Blue Suede Shoes" or that the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards, as a teenager, was a big Chuck Berry fan. Some of the profiles are a bit sanitized, as there is no mention of Jerry Lee Lewis's many wives nor of Little Richard's homosexuality or James Brown's jail time. Children who have heard tell of the Bo Diddley beat or "Rock Around the Clock" will get the connection, and children who haven't will be fascinated by the stories and the music references. (Picture book/biography. 8-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618432295
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 5/25/2004
  • Edition description: None
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Holly George-Warren is an award-winning writer, editor, producer, and music consultant. She has contributed to more than two dozen books about rock and roll, including The New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll, The Rolling Stone Book of Women in Rock, and The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll. She’s also written for the New York Times, the Village Voice, the Journal of Country Music, and Rolling Stone. Ms. George-Warren lives in upstate New York with her family. Visit her online at www.hollygeorgewarren.com.

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