Gr 2-7-Led by a winding ribbon of scat printed across selected pages, the jazz riffs of saxophonist Charlie "Bird" Parker call to a teen and lure him all over New York City in the 1940s. Burleigh's narrative follows the young man (identified in the author's note as trumpeter Miles Davis) as he searches the cityscape to find his idol, looking to "jam"-to join souls and talent. His quest takes readers through city streets and soaring over the skyline. Elusive notes "swooped like swallows" past churches, tenements, elevated trains, subways, bridges, and into the clubs of New York. Los's pencil, oil paint, and watercolor artwork echoes the smooth haze of jazz tones, using a blur of blue and purple shadows to create an impressionistic scene accented with touches of orange, yellow, and white light. All the while, rhythms of bebop resound in the pattern of text. Burleigh encourages an understanding of the artistic process and self-expression as the young musician "let my horn be me,/full of everything I knew." A lovely and lyrical look at this all-American art form.-Mary Elam, Forman Elementary School, Plano, TX Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
A celebration of book-qua-book from Burleigh (Lookin' for Bird in the Big City, p. 582, etc.). A cheery little boy in a pompadour walks himself, an assortment of animal friends, and the reader through the book in hand, explicitly developing the metaphor of physical book as mental journey: "The way this page swings open, / then closes-like a door! / I'm heading into the next room now- / because I want some more!" Each double-page spread deconstructs the notion of page, allowing a trompe-l'oeil fold to reveal what comes before or after, or permitting characters to break through the plane entirely. (In one combination, the reader sees the head of a crocodile poking through a hole, and then, upon the turn of the page, the backside of the crocodile looking through that very same hole at the previous page.) Yaccarino's (So Big, 2000, etc.) characteristically flat illustrations here take on some weight, occupying two and three dimensions at the same time-a perfect marriage of illustrative style to concept. Unfortunately, the concept is executed at the narrative level in verse that barely rises above doggerel, attempting to convey a fairly sophisticated conceit in language better suited to Sesame Street. In fact, the whole production is well-meaning in a very Sesame Street-esque way, failing to challenge the reader as other attempts at picture-book metaliterature do (Art Spiegelman's Open Me . . . I'm a Dog, 1997, comes to mind). The "story," such as it is, ends with the following statement: "Wait-the fun's not over yet. / I'll catch my breath-and then, / walk around to the front of the book, / and go back through again!" As a curiosity, readers may "go through" once. Again? Not likely.(Picture book. 4-8)