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What a Wonderful World

What a Wonderful World

4.4 8
by George David Weiss, Bob Thiele, Renee Graef (Illustrator)

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Bryan has taken the words of this familiar and much-loved song, inspired by the genius of Louis Armstrong, and created a picture book that represents all races, and demonstrates the wonderful beauty of diversity in the world.


Bryan has taken the words of this familiar and much-loved song, inspired by the genius of Louis Armstrong, and created a picture book that represents all races, and demonstrates the wonderful beauty of diversity in the world.

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.

Product Details

Hal Leonard Corporation
Publication date:
Sing-a-Song Storybooks
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x (d)

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What a Wonderful World 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think this is the best I always give it to a child for it's first birthday. I give it 5 stars
reececo331 More than 1 year ago
What a Wonderful World (Hardcover) by George David Weiss Reading this book to kindergarten first and second grade. Kindergarten was mesmerized by the book, and the song. The kids thought it was too fast to read the story as a song.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yoga-Yingo More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!