JAZZ ABZ

AN A TO Z COLLECTION OF JAZZ PORTRAITS

At last: a jazz book that thrillingly, exhilaratingly, palpitatingly gets it. Jazz master Marsalis presents a cycle of poems that alliteratively jitterbugs through some 26 verse forms and 26 jazz greats, from Louis Armstrong to Dizzy Gillespie. These poems are set against Rogers’s striking black-and-earth-toned poster-like prints and represent a sort of verbal immersion in jazz. Readers are invited to join in the performance poem that celebrates Art Blakey/Abdullah Ibn Buhaina, presenting them with drum beats and riffs that punctuate the stanzas. A syncopated limerick presents Gerry Mulligan, a nursery rhyme, Nat “King” Cole, a sonnet, Sarah Vaughan. The poems clearly do not aim for straight biography, instead plunging readers into a direct jazz experience, the alliteration, rhythm and rhyme creating the meaning instead of containing it. The alphabet poem that dizzyingly, dazzlingly introduces a deeply shadowed Ornette Coleman riffs giddily through the alphabet, the string of words meaningless in themselves but resulting in a concatenation of sounds that channels his avant-garde saxophone directly into readers’ ears. Brief biographical sketches by Phil Schaap and notes on the verse forms round out the text, which closes, appropriately enough, with a discography. Yeahhhh. (Poetry. YA)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-7636-2135-8

Page Count: 76

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2005

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Wheeler offers a scrapbook-style travelogue of her seven-month stint on the world’s coldest continent. Letters to her...

GREETINGS FROM ANTARCTICA

            In an eye-opening companion to such works as Jennifer Armstrong’s Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World (1999) and Elizabeth Cody Kimmel’s Ice Story (p.  66) on Shackleton, readers get a contemporary look at Antarctica.

            Wheeler offers a scrapbook-style travelogue of her seven-month stint on the world’s coldest continent.  Letters to her godson, Daniel, describe a harsh environment so cold that dental fillings fall out.  Double-page spreads dotted with full-color snapshots form short chapters on the icy region, suiting up, the difficulties of everyday existence, food and drink, shelter, transportation, entertainment, and wildlife.  The last third of the volume is devoted to current scientific pursuits as well as an overview of famous expeditions to the nearly uninhabitable “bottom of the planet.”  The cheery photographs – most by the author – show her dwarfed by the Barne glacier, posing with Emperor penguins, even building an igloo.  While the chatty letters highlight personal details of the trip, boxed inserts provide background information.  Key dates in Antarctic history complete this accessible profile, ideal as entry into units on the region.  (maps, charts, diagrams, further reading, index)  (Nonfiction.  8-12)

Pub Date: July 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-87226-295-2

Page Count: 44

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1999

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ISN'T MY NAME MAGICAL?

SISTER AND BROTHER POEMS

Leaving behind much of the lyricism found in his previous collections, Berry (First Palm Trees, 1997, etc.) pens poems in the voices of a sister, Dreena (who has the magical name), and brother, Delroy, on their experiences in the family with a dour sister, mother (“A teacher, Mom has lots of pens/and home and school jobs”), and father, who “drives a train,/sometimes in a heavy jacket.” This father is not really poem-material: “And, sometimes, Dad brings us gifts./Sometimes, he plays our piano.” The brother, Delroy, who tenders three autobiographical poems, can’t sit still and can’t stop talking about it. There is a good declarative poem, about a strong friendship he shares with another boy. Otherwise, he is dancing like a madman (“doing body-break and body-pop”) or skateboarding under the influence of a fevered imagination (“I want one owl on each my shoulder/hooting out as I leap each river”). In her first book, Hehenberger takes a literal route, anchoring every poem in domestic scenes of family and friends; the deep colors and finely sculpted forms become set pieces for Berry’s earthbound images. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-689-80013-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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