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What A Wonderful World

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Overview

What simpler way could there be to express to children the beauty and the harmony in the world around them than through the lyrics of this song by George David Weiss and Bob Thiele, made famous by the great Louis Armstrong? And what better visual accompaniment than the bright colorful artwork by award-winning Ashley Bryan depicting children of many backgrounds (and Louis Armstrong himself) performing a puppet show that brings the lyrics to life. Here is a book of brightness, ...

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Overview

What simpler way could there be to express to children the beauty and the harmony in the world around them than through the lyrics of this song by George David Weiss and Bob Thiele, made famous by the great Louis Armstrong? And what better visual accompaniment than the bright colorful artwork by award-winning Ashley Bryan depicting children of many backgrounds (and Louis Armstrong himself) performing a puppet show that brings the lyrics to life. Here is a book of brightness, wonder, and hope to be shared by all.

Children put on a puppet show using the words to the song "What a Wonderful World," made famous by Louis Armstrong.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Launching off from the lyrics immortalized by Louis Armstrong, Bryan (The Story of Thunder and Lightning) spins a utopian confection of racial harmony and collaboration. The song extols the pleasures of this ``wonderful world'': ``I hear babies cry, I watch them grow./ They'll learn much more than I'll ever know,/ and I think to myself, `What a wonderful world.'" Bryan illustrates the lyrics by means of a puppet show performed by a cross-cultural group of children and a smiling black man with a trumpet (presiding adults will have to identify the figure as Armstrong; there's not even an explanatory note in the book). Fittingly, Bryan's gouache and tempera paints are as bright and varied as a rainbow, but even with the lyrics they don't tell a coherent story. Bursting with its upbeat message, this seems like a picture-book cross between ``Up with People'' and ``It's a Small World.'' Ages 4-8. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
The song, What a Wonderful World, was one of Louis Armstrong's greatest hits. Now it has been handsomely illustrated by Ashley Bryan. Bryan pays tribute to Louis who was not only a great musician, but who was the quintessential goodwill ambassador. The paintings portray children performing a puppet show with 'Louis' as the main character surrounded by lush vegetation, animals, and children. Bryan's palette of warm, vibrant colors reiterate the theme of sharing and love for the diverse world in which we live. The book is magical especially when accompanied by a recording of Armstrong singing the title song. Put on the CD (Louis Armstrong's Greatest Hits, Curb Records, 1990), turn the pages, and let Louie and Ashley do the rest. 1995 (orig.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Those of us familiar with the music of Louis Armstrong may cringe somewhat at this earnest, albeit colorful interpretation of his famous song. Bryan's vibrant, neon-colored illustrations tell a story of kids making puppets that will act out the lyrics-``I see skies of blue and clouds of white, the bright, blessed day, the dark, sacred night.'' Multicultural puppets and ``Satchmo'' dance away as the children behind the stage wave clouds, flowers, rainbows, and other props. The usual picture-book crowd is too young to know of Louis Armstrong or his nickname, and those who are old enough and do know of him may not especially want to think of him as a puppet. The song is a celebration of the world and its varied inhabitants and each page in the book reflects this, but all of these well-meaning parts-the lyrics that express a true emotion; the bright, upbeat illustrations; and the celebration of diversity-don't make a successful whole.-Jane Marino, Scarsdale Public Library, NY
Janice Del Negro
Made famous by the late Louis Armstrong, this Weiss and Thiele song is interpreted in carnival colors by Bryan. A group of multiracial children use a puppet stage with banners flying and puppets (including a Louis Armstrong lookalike) in a wide variety of hues to dramatize the songs' lyrics. Smiling children, glowing yellows and pinks, and brilliantly colored pastoral settings make this more than a tribute to Armstrong, to whom it is dedicated. In the deft hands of artist Bryan, it is a song of joy from the lyricists who wrote it, the man who sang it, and the artist who envisioned it.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689800870
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 3/1/1995
  • Series: Jean Karl Bks.
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 100,310
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: BRL (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 12.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Ashley Bryan grew up to the sound of his mother singing from morning to night, and he has shared the joy of song with children ever since. A beloved illustrator, he has been the recipient of the Coretta Scott King—Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award; he has also been a May Hill Arbuthnot lecturer, a Coretta Scott King Award winner, and the recipient of countless other awards and recognitions. He lives in Islesford, one of the Cranberry Isles off the coast of Maine, where he can often be found with a cluster of children, all singing.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 13, 2009

    Wonderful Book

    I use this book to introduce kids to Louis Armstrong and a song with a wonderful message. The pictures grab the kids attention and compliment the song. I teach a yoga "dance" of poses to this song. It's great!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2008

    Love this book!

    My 3 year old was able to comprehend that he was sing-reading the lyrics to a song that he has heard and absolutely loves this book! It came alive and has helped his reading. t will be come a keepsake for him.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2004

    books from songs...GREAT idea!

    I love how so many illustrators are using great songs to create children's books. I play the song along with the book and have the kids sing along once they learn it. This is such a wonderful message and I am thankful for this book. Please share it with as many kids as you can find!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 1999

    Great book !

    This is a book for all ages. I use it in my classroom in high school. And I find that adults enjoy it too. It is a wonderful book based on a wonderful song!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews

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