August 14, 2005

Book Review Contest: Charlie Parker Played Be Bop


Title: Charlie Parker Played Be Bop
Author/Illustrator: Chris Raschka
Reviewer: Jason Sperber

My 9-month-old daughter loooves this book (we have it in the boardbook edition). It's a great introduction to the idea of jazz and music in book form, but more than that, it's fun to read. It's been our babygirl's last-book-before-bedtime for months, and she seems to get a kick out of the silly rhymes and repetition, the syncopation and the brightly colored illustrations. On cranky nights, she'll bat other books out of our hands and reach toward "Charlie Parker" on the bookshelf.
Check out Charlie Parker Played Be Bop at Amazon


Have you and your daughter checked out "The Jazz Fly"? Indeed an enjoyable book to read.

As a jazz pianist and the father of an 8 month-old boy, I wanted to love this book, really I did. I have it in both board book and full-size, and have read it to my son repeatedly. But in all honesty, it's pretty lousy. The illustrations are fine, but the attempts at scat are pathetically trite, and the whole "never leave your cat alone" motif belittle the serious artistry that these bebop giants contributed to American culture. I did try reading it with "Salt Peanuts" playing in the background, but in the end, it was better just to let my son hear Bird and Dizzy blow than to read him this book (which, alas, also blows).

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