BEBOP EXPRESS by H.L. Panahi

BEBOP EXPRESS

by & illustrated by &
Age Range: 3 - 8
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KIRKUS REVIEW

What is it about jazz and children’s books? It’s a long way from Raffi to Dizzy, but there’ll always be another book seeking to bridge the gap. Unfortunately, most of them, by sticking with the tried-and-true idiom of picture-bookspeak, fall far short, and this is no exception. Here, a train travels from New York to New Orleans, picking up musicians—a sax player here, a drummer there—until one smokin’ combo rocks the tracks. Johnson and Fancher have done a splendid job, deviating from their customary muralistic style to create collage paintings that mimic hand-tinted black-and-white photographs. These paintings are cut and layered, the sudden sharp edges and abruptly varied perspectives evoking the syncopated urban rhythms of jazz. The text, however, mostly sticks to the omnipresent, distinctly un-jazzy rhyming couplet. Ho hum. Onomatopoetic jazz sounds (“blee blee, doot doot”) rendered in a multitude of typefaces attempt to relieve the monotony of the old standard, but in the end, the train comes off the track, the jazz beat overwhelmed by the lockstep verse scheme. Enjoy the art, but get out a copy of Mysterious Thelonious or Charlie Parker Played Bebop for the real deal. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: June 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-06-057190-X
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2005




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