When Louis Armstrong Taught Me Scat

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Overview

In a CRACKITY-SNAPPITY-POPPITY-POP bubblegum dream, a young girl learns to scat from the master himself, Louis Armstrong! Written in prose and scat with wild and wonderful illustrations by R. Gregory Christie, this joyful tribute is downright contagious. CHEW-ITEE CHEW-ITEE CHEW-ITEE CHOP, CRACKITY SNAPPITY POPPITY POP!

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Overview

In a CRACKITY-SNAPPITY-POPPITY-POP bubblegum dream, a young girl learns to scat from the master himself, Louis Armstrong! Written in prose and scat with wild and wonderful illustrations by R. Gregory Christie, this joyful tribute is downright contagious. CHEW-ITEE CHEW-ITEE CHEW-ITEE CHOP, CRACKITY SNAPPITY POPPITY POP!

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

With the synergy of a veteran jazz duo, debut author Weinstein and Christie (Jazz Baby) pay rollicking tribute to Satchmo and the singing style he popularized. Freewheeling verbal and visual riffs elevate the simple plot: after a mother and daughter dance to the radio before bedtime ("We spin an' twirl around, waggle our heads an' wiggle our hips"), the girl learns to sing scat-about her bubble gum-when Armstrong visits her in a dream. "Rippety wrapper/ glittery new/ pinkety sweet/ stickety chew." Children can both giggle at the bouncy non sequiturs ("Cricket's throne/ puppy's bone/ bug's umbrella/ mozzarella???") and absorb some musical history from endnotes on Armstrong and scat. Christie's vibrant acrylics offer a pleasing, surreal fluidity. Floating purple trumpets, a winding musical staff and appearances by some hep-looking animals all jell with the anything-goes nature of the subject. Ages 5-9. (Feb.)

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Kirkus Reviews
This ebullient tribute to Armstrong as scat innovator opens with a girl and her mom dancing to Satchmo's scatting on the radio. Scat singing inspires the young narrator, who dreams of Armstrong, inviting her to improvise on-what? " ‘How about bubble gum?'/ ‘Sure, bubble gum's hip.' " Six ensuing spreads crank out scat-influenced verse that, after establishing the tempo ("Chew-itee / Chew-itee / Chew-itee / CHOP / Crackity / Snappity / Poppity! / POP!!!"), tangles it in anapestic jungle metaphor (" . . . lilac moon / butterfly's cocoon / baboon's nose / hippo's toes"). Departing the dream's careening visual and textual imagery, the girl floats back to wakefulness (having blown a bubble as big as a "hot air balloon" with cacophonic results). Enthusiastic, infectious neighborhood scatting ensues. Christie's gorgeous full-bleed pictures blend touching detail (Armstrong's scarred lips, the girl's fuzzy bedroom slippers) with swaths of vibrant, opaque color. Three typefaces, alternating upper- and lower-case, match the verve of the agreeably frenetic text. One quibble: In an appended note on scat, Weinstein unequivocally states, " . . . before Louis Armstrong, no one sang it professionally." Jazz scholars might disagree. (biographical note) (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811851312
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
  • Publication date: 12/24/2008
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 10.50 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

A former elementary school teacher, Muriel Harris Weinstein has taught children's poetry, prose, and playwriting at the United Nations School and the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts. She lives in Great Neck, New York.

R. Gregory Christie is a three-time recipient of a Coretta Scott King Award in Illustration, and two of his books, Only Passing Through: The Story of Sojourner Truth and Stars in Darkness, were named New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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