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Piano Starts Here- The Art of Young Tatum

Last updated Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Author: Robert A. Parker
Date of Publication: 2008
ISBN: 0375839658
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Mar. 2010

Synopsis: Parker, who illustrated Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordanís Sibert Honor Book Action Jackson (2002), contributes both words and pictures in this heartfelt portrait of jazz great Tatum. Parker pushes the limits of the bookís nonfiction cataloguing by speaking in the pianistís first-person voice, but an authorís note and a solid bibliography set the episodes in a framework of established facts. The vibrant scenes, in Parkerís familiar style of scratched ink lines and watercolor washes, show young Tatum playing at home for his dancing parents, at church for a full choir, and at local clubs, where he is discovered and his international career begins. In some images, crowds of dancers and musicians create a swirl of animated motion; in others, Parker sets Tatum, who was nearly blind, against a deep, moody, abstract background of shifting colors. Throughout, the simple, direct language shows the power of the music for both Tatum and his listeners. ďWhen I am at the piano . . . I play clouds of notes, rivers of notes . . . I forget that my eyes arenít good. I have everything I need.Ē Cue up the music; children will best appreciate this beautiful tribute with an earful of Tatum at the keyboard. Grades 2-4. --Gillian Engberg

Discussion topics: To be posted soon ...

Craft ideas: To be posted soon ...

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you donít have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!