Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Hot Jazz Special

Hot Jazz Special

Jonny Hannah
Picture Book
For ages 7 to 10
Candlewick, 2005   ISBN: 0763623083

If you like to listen to music, and perhaps dance to it as well, then you really need to visit the Body & Soul Café. Here you will find good food, great coffee, and “round about midnight” you can join Henry, “the boy who cleans this joint,” to listen to some amazing music.

Here is Jelly Roll Morton on the piano who can “dust the keys like no other,” and whose skill on the piano will astound you. Next, Gypsy guitarist, Django Reinhart comes in the door, and you will find it hard not to tap your feet when he starts making the strings of his guitar dance. Walter Page, the bass player is next, the tones of his big ‘ol double bass giving us a “solid rhythm, drivin’ low and grooving.’”

Perhaps you are more into the blare of a trumpet. Stay where you are because Louis Armstrong himself is now on the stage. The man from New Orleans will play his scat songs and give you a tune or two that will make you want to dance the night away. You better make sure that you are properly dressed for the occasion because looking right is part of the experience. Pull out those Mary Janes or brogues, the striped suit, and don’t forget a hat.

Now that you are wearing the right “threads” let’s see whose going to play for us next. Holy smokes, here’s Benny Goodman and his clarinet with Gene Krupa playing on the drums. The crazy percussion sounds and the “Wee bee wee woo” of the clarinet will “send us clean outta sight!”

When everybody is on stage, we will have eight musicians ready to play, but something’s missing. We need a band leader, a song master to give us a performance that we will never forget.

In this extraordinary book, brightly colored illustrations, wild fonts, and a tap tap rhyming rhythmical text come together to give readers a book that is a glorious tribute to jazz music and jazz musicians. We not only experience an incredible performance that ends in an explosive finale, but at the back of the book the author also provides us with additional information about the nine musicians who are mentioned in the text.