Shake, Rattle & Turn That Noise Down!: How Elvis Shook Up Music, Me and Mom


FOR HIS EIGHTH birthday, Mark Alan Stamaty’s parents gave him his very own radio. Little did his mother realize that that innocent-looking plastic box would one day be the gateway for a new kind of sound that would “rock” her nearly out of her mind. . . .

Mark first heard the howling thunder of Elvis Presley singing “Hound Dog” on the radio one lazy day and his life was forever changed. Soon he was styling his hair like the King and practicing his dance moves with a tennis ...

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FOR HIS EIGHTH birthday, Mark Alan Stamaty’s parents gave him his very own radio. Little did his mother realize that that innocent-looking plastic box would one day be the gateway for a new kind of sound that would “rock” her nearly out of her mind. . . .

Mark first heard the howling thunder of Elvis Presley singing “Hound Dog” on the radio one lazy day and his life was forever changed. Soon he was styling his hair like the King and practicing his dance moves with a tennis racket as his pretend guitar in front o f the mirror. But his mother lived in constant fear that her son’s new love of rock ’n’ roll would turn him into a juvenile delinquent. Could Mark’s performance at his Cub Scout talent show change her mind?

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Stamaty uses the comic strip format to recount the story of his infatuation with Elvis Presley and how his mother comes to understand it. The story begins in 1955. That year, on his eighth birthday, Stamaty receives a radio from his parents. (While that may not seem like a big deal now, it was something special at that time.) When broadcasting of the new music called "rock 'n' roll" and its proponent Presley begins, Stamaty experiences "a hurricane of excitement." His mother is appalled. But then he performs successfully, and she is proud of him. This piece of American cultural history is filled with details of the period. Our hero appears center stage in his room in one scene with contents including magazines and vinyl records; he gyrates across the endpages, guitar in hand. Stamaty's illustrations are created with graphite, ink, gouache, watercolor, polymer paint, and colored pencils. They include multiple scenes in various sizes from small box to double page, as appropriate to the genre of comic book exaggeration. Many graphic touches add excitement. Stamaty then presents background information on his story, including mention of the Elvis impersonation he performed at the White House in 1993 and "some photos of Elvis-related moments from [his] life." Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Julie Just
With characteristic wit, Stamaty has written a high-energy cartoon memoir about his discovery, in third grade, of Elvis and rock 'n' roll.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
In this comic book–style trip down memory lane, circa 1955–1957, Stamaty (Who Needs Donuts?) recalls his conversion to rock ’n’ roll. For a while, “my favorite songs were often gentle melodies that put a sweet smile on Mom’s face,” he recalls. As times change, a panel presents a pantheon of rock and blues musicians from Bill Haley to Bo Diddley. Stamaty pictures integration without naming it, and a delirious spread, crowded with the oversize lyrics to “Hound Dog” (“Youainnuthinbuttahounddogcrockinallatime”), pictures him physically bowled over by Elvis Presley. His distraught mother reluctantly allows him to buy the 45-rpm single for “Love Me Tender,” never reckoning on the raucous B-side. When Stamaty gives his classmates pompadours and performs as Elvis for a talent show, today’s High School Musical fans may see common ground. Stamaty doesn’t say what he sang or explain his title reference, but an amazing afterword (with photos) verifies his childhood hairstyle and impersonation, plus a 1990s reprise for President Clinton. The energetic color comics present Stamaty’s nostalgic memories in an engaging, albeit quaint way: grandparents can share this with the MP3 generation. Ages 5–8. (Jan.)
Kirkus Reviews
Although Stamaty's latest graphic memoir is based on real-life events, it's also a mystery-not a whodunit, though, more of a "who's-it-for." Detailing Stamaty's lifelong enthusiasm for Elvis, the saga starts in 1955 when young Mark receives a radio as a birthday gift. Little did his parents know that popular music was poised to make a major shift, one that would turn their son into a nine-year-old pompadour-wearing, tennis-racket-strumming Elvis impersonator. Although initially his mother objects strenuously, her happiness at her son's success at a Cub Scout banquet performance shows that she is proud of his talent even if she doesn't share his taste. The author's text evokes everyday life in the '50s and briefly identifies a number of the musicians who contributed to the development of rock 'n' roll. His detailed illustrations offer plenty of context, but, like the slight plot and nostalgic tone, they will likely resonate more strongly with adults of a certain age than with children. Appended information, including the story of an impromptu performance for then-President Bill Clinton, reinforces this impression. (Graphic memoir. 7-9)
School Library Journal
Gr 4–8—Young fans of Elvis—and especially their moms and dads and grandparents—will delight in this enthusiastic depiction of Presley's influence on the author's musical tastes. Given a radio in 1955 when he was eight, Stamaty was already listening to music when Elvis roared onto the scene. The beat, the rhythm, and the volume drove his mother to distraction but turned him into a lifelong fan. While the layout may be in sync with the animation that Stamaty is trying to portray, at times the combination of exaggerated facial expressions, cartoon panels, hand-lettered text of various sizes and colors, and musical notations sweeping across the pages overpower it. Interspersed bits of the history of rock 'n' roll and thumbnail portraits of some of the performers further crowd the page. Nevertheless, enthusiasts of the music are sure to linger over the mix of information and images that Stamaty energetically supplies. Appended are photos and commentary from "Elvis-related moments" in the illustrator/author's life.—Barbara Elleman, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375846854
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 1/12/2010
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 805,169
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Alan Stamaty is the author-illustrator of Who Needs Donuts? and Alia’s Mission: Saving the Books of Iraq. He lives in New York City.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2010

    Collector's Item!

    Don't be fooled. This is not just a children's book. This is a book for Elvis lovers, music lovers, art lovers. Anyone who is a child or has ever been a child with a love of music needs to see this book. The writing is funny, touching, and powerful. The art is wild, colorful, precise, and unique. This book should be on every bookshelf, every coffee table throughout the world of Elvis and music lovers. I've been waiting my whole life for this book to be written. Finally, someone has tapped into the powerful experience of Elvis in the lives of those of us growing up in that era. The excitement, the fun, the explosion of feelings of raw emotion, the decadence. My life was changed by Elvis and his music. He tapped into my need to express myself and inspired me to be an individual and a nonconformist in an overly conforming world. I've never recovered from that experience, thank goodness! Stamaty is a phenomenal artist and writer, and he captures the era like no other I've experienced before. This will be a collector's item no doubt. Snatch it up while you can.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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