Friday, November 28, 2008

Review: When Louis Armstrong Taught Me Scat

by Muriel Harris Weinstein, illustrated by R.Gregory Christie. Chronicle Books, 2008. Review copy; release date is Dec. 10, 2008. Put this book on your holiday gift list for sure! All ages will be delighted with the bouncy rhythms of a young girl dancing to jazz with her mother and then dreaming of learning the art of scat singing from the master Louis "Satchimo" Armstrong in bubble gum be bop.

Rippity wrapper
glittery new
stickety CHEW


gummity thick


blowitty quick!









The loud colors of lime green, royal blue and neon pink work with the warm people shades of brown to shout with energy as our girl in fuzzy slippers twirls around Armstrong's musical staff in the blasts of his trumpet and bubble gum scat song. I read this to second graders in the library and they couldn't help themselves joining in on the chorus:

Oooba lee COOO,

obba lee CAT

bubble me a bubble
bubble it FAT.

Oooba lee COOO,

oooba lee BAT


bubble gum scat.

The next morning she takes the rhymes to the playground and gets everyone doing double dutch to the joyful beat of the bubble gum song. Christie's illustrations are a perfect match for this celebration of Armstrong's well loved art form.

There is a short biography and explanation of Armstrong's development of scat in the last few pages of the book. Our students are learning to use scat to warm up in their music classes so I think I'll have to gift the music teacher with this book. Who would you give it to?

Other reviews:
Young Readers
The Reading Tub

Muriel Harris Weinstein is a poet with work published in
The Comstock Review, Nassau Review, Kent State Review, Nexus, and in many anthologies. Here's a link to a poem she has in The Comstock Review from November 2008. She has a children's biography on Louis in the works.

Friday Poetry is over at Lisa Chellman's blog. Hope you're having a restful, thankful weekend!


david elzey said...

two great lessons rolled into one: scat as a legitimate form of vocal expression, and louis armstrong.

the illustrations look to have a mid-century feel to them, which is perfect. looking forward to checking this out. thanks for sharing this.

Jules at 7-Imp said...

Oh I'm so glad you posted about this. We featured R. Gregory Christie a good while ago one Sunday, and he shared some early illustrations from this. I can't wait to see it. Thanks!

Marjorie said...

:-) This sounds a delight - what a great way to get young kids into scat! It sounds as though it has exactly the kind of nonsense plays on words that would appeal to my two!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for leaving a comment at my PaperTigers post on Friday (I'm Sally) and I enjoyed reading your post and put it as my daily kidlit featured blog on my FB site. Sorry I have to post this as an anonymous comment but been having trouble with password-forgetting, especially for Blogger.

Saints and Spinners said...

This looks good! I'll be on the watch for it next month at my bookstore gig.

Janet Brown said...

This is fabulous!!!Reminds me of my old favorite Charlie Parker Played Bepop by Chris Raschka (sp?) but in its own unique way not slavishly at all.
Thank you!
Janet at PaperTigers Blog

Susan (Chicken Spaghetti) said...

Love the look of those illustrations. I'll be looking for this one.

Terry Teachout, the Wall St. Journal theater critic who also blogs at About Last Night, is writing a bio (for adults) of Armstrong.