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Author & Illustrator: Chris Raschka   Narrator: Richard Allen

Available Discounts

    ISBN: 9781591124177
    Release Date: 10/30/2002
    Grades: K - 3
    Reading Level: 2.2
    Length:  14 Min 36 Sec

    Audio File
    John Coltrane's Giant Steps CD
    ISBN: 9781591124153


    "Chris Raschka's latest jazz title is greatly enhanced with this audio version...a wonderful first exposure to both jazz music and Coltrane's piece" -School Library Journal


    Review by: Booklist Magaine - April 1, 2003
    "In his picture book, Raschka layers transparent shapes and drawings-rain-drops, squares, snowflakes, and a leaping cat-to illustrate the musical parts that made up the whole of tenor sax player Coltrane's high-speed piece "Giant Steps." Booklist's Focus review [Jl 02] found that Raschka's concept in book form was abstract, overreaching, and off-target for its audience, questioning why a recording wasn't included with the book. Well, here it is, and this lively audio version, meant to be used with the book, will certainly help the picture-book set puzzle out the musical connections that Raschka tried to get across. Allen narrates in a dramatic, jazz-cat voice, both playful and reverent, that has a cool rhythm of its own, and background sound effects such as glasses clinking and the low hum of conversation create a jazz-club atmosphere that never distracts from the music. As the shapes dance across the page, children using the book and audio together will actually hear, rather than try to imagine, the sounds of each corresponding instrument. Just as Tchaikovsky introduced children to orchestra instruments with Peter and the Wolf, Raschka's book and this audio, used together, will give young ones a glimpse of how jazz is made."
    Review by: School Library Journal - March 15, 2003
    "Chris Raschka's latest jazz title (Atheneum, 2002) is greatly enhanced with this audio version. His creative and clever introduction to "Giant Steps: is a wonderful first exposure to both jazz music and Coltrane's piece. Richard Allen narrates, echoing into his nightclubbish microphone, "Good evening. And thank you for coming to our book." The text introduces the visual elements that will represent the instruments: the percussion, raindrops; the bass, squares; the piano, snowflakes; and the saxophone is a kitten. As the music and shapes begin to play together, they are a bit jumbled and out of rhythm, and the narrator stops the ensemble to correct" the performance. The rest of the piece is played out in perfect harmony, both audibly and visually. Raschka's watercolor illustrations layer themselves as the music intensifies, providing an excellent visual for the musical concept represented here. Following .the book's text, John Coltrane's 1960 version of the piece is layed as the book's author introduces the band used in the just-heard recording. Raschka goes on to briefly explain the concept of jazz and introduces a bit of history for Coltrane's "Giant Steps." This title will be a reach for some children in the intended age group, but for those listeners who understand, it will provide excellent exposure to this musical genre. Appropriate for story times, music education, and general listening, it will be appreciated by librarians, teachers, and parents looking for a way to introduce children to jazz music."


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