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The Jukebox Man

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Donna drops a nickel into the jukebox. With a whirr and a click the record falls into place and Elvis begins singing Blue Suede Shoes. The jukebox flashes red, yellow, and green as she dances to the beat. Donna’s grandfather is a jukebox man. He has jukeboxes in dozens of diners, fish camps, and truck stops all over the state. Poppaw makes his rounds—changing records and fixing the machines. And as the jukeboxes throw patches of light on the floor, Donna discovers a whole new world. Jacqueline Ogburn’s engaging ...
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Overview

Donna drops a nickel into the jukebox. With a whirr and a click the record falls into place and Elvis begins singing Blue Suede Shoes. The jukebox flashes red, yellow, and green as she dances to the beat. Donna’s grandfather is a jukebox man. He has jukeboxes in dozens of diners, fish camps, and truck stops all over the state. Poppaw makes his rounds—changing records and fixing the machines. And as the jukeboxes throw patches of light on the floor, Donna discovers a whole new world. Jacqueline Ogburn’s engaging story and James Ransome’s sensitive paintings recapture a time when jukeboxes played the latest tunes and a young girl and her grandfather could share a special day. Jacqueline K. Ogburn’s grandfather really was a jukebox man. Her most recent picture book, The Reptile Ball, was an American Bookseller Pick of the Lists. James E. Ransome’s many books for children include The Creation, which won the Coretta Scott King Award for illustration.

After watching her grandfather repair broken jukeboxes and change records at diners, restaurants, fish camps, and truck stops, a little girl dances with him to her favorite tune.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Ogburn (The Reptile Ball) reminisces about the jukebox days of the 1950s through a girl's treasured Saturday spent with her grandfather. Donna's Poppaw is "a jukebox man. He had jukeboxes in dozens of diners and restaurants, fish camps and truck stops all over the state." The girl accompanies her grandfather on his rounds as he changes each of his Wurlitzer's selections of 45s and empties the coins into bags to divvy up with the proprietor of each business. The kind man gives Donna her own copy of her favorite record, "Blue Suede Shoes," and the narrative builds as she anticipates arriving home to play it. In a climactic scene, the vinyl disk falls to the floor and is crushed "into slivers," but Poppaw simply selects the song from a nearby jukebox and all is abruptly and unsatisfyingly resolved. Painting in oils on paper, Ransome (Uncle Jed's Barbershop) uses a convincing 1950s palette to capture a bygone era. However, some of the artist's renderings of Donna and Poppaw are uneven and the illustrations only hint at the affection between the two. Readers may well feel they never get to see the bond between granddaughter and grandfather; the book relies on a nostalgia factor that may be lost on children unfamiliar with Elvis Presley. Ages 4-8. (May)
Children's Literature - Alexandria LaFaye
Drawing on her own memories of growing up in a family that serviced jukeboxes, Ogburn tells the story of a young girl who joins her grandfather on his route stocking and repairing jukeboxes. Illustrating the joy a child feels in helping an adult with a grown-up job, this story also highlights the love of a child for her grandfather. Set in the fifties, the book provides a glimpse into the past when Elvis' "Blue Suede Shoes" played on the radio and jukeboxes were all the rage. It also shows some of the ways in which childhood has changed and yet remained the same. Ransome's touching oil paintings add a depth and beauty to the everyday life portrayed in the book. This is a nostalgic book both children and adults will enjoy-one that grandparents might like to read to their grandkids.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3Donna's Poppaw is a jukebox man and she loves to accompany him on his rounds to fish camps and truck stops. The girl especially enjoys dancing to her favorite tune, "Blue Suede Shoes." The narrative is loaded with sensory images of "coffee, vinegar, and damp hamburger buns" and coins pouring out of the jukebox in "a noisy stream." Donna, about 10 and wearing saddle shoes, is vividly realized. A waitress tells her she's "as cute as a little june bug," and Donna thinks tartly: "June bugs are fat and green and not cute at all." The full-color realistic illustrations capture the warmth of feeling between grandfather and child, while masterful composition and use of shadow reinforce the text. Light is used effectively as well, with yellow washes reflecting the summer's heat and the flashing lights of jukeboxes providing the perfect setting for Donna's joyous dances. On a historical note, this satisfying story places readers squarely in the late `50s. The book is a fine companion to others set in the same general era, such as Margaree Mitchell's Uncle Jed's Barber Shop (S & S, 1993), also illustrated by Ransome. Jukebox Man will be gladly welcomed by independent readers and those interested in American history.Carolyn Noah, Central Mass. Regional Library System, Worcester, MA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803714298
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/1/1998
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.84 (w) x 8.76 (h) x 0.38 (d)

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