Monday, July 28, 2008

Lisa Wheeler: Jazz Baby

I'm always on the lookout for new picture books to use during my summer Songwriting for Kids workshops, and this year I was absolutely elated to come across Lisa Wheeler's Jazz Baby.

Jazz Baby grooves and swings like nobody's business. The rhythms are infectious. The text is filled with bounce and joy. R. Gregory Christie's illustrations of Jazz Baby and his family, hip-hopping and be-bopping around the house practically dance themselves off the page.

The kids in my class had a blast repeating Jazz Baby's parts ("Snap-snap-snap" and "Go Man Go!") back to me. And in the end, when Jazz Baby is gently put to bed after all that dancing and swinging and shouting and jiving, we all took a deep breath and echoed the sleepy, satisfied last lines...."Oh, yeah!"

It's no wonder this book has won awards like the Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book (that's Dr. Seuss to you and me) and the ALA Notable Children’s Book. It is a commendable celebration of rhyme, rhythm, and music. Most importantly, it is pure fun.

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