This Jazz Man

Last updated Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Author: Karen Ehrhardt
Illustrator: R.G. Roth
Date of Publication: 2006
ISBN: 0152053077
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Mar. 2007

Synopsis: From School Library Journal: Using a lively version of the children's song This Old Man, this book introduces famous African-American jazz musicians as it counts to nine. Louis Armstrong is number 1. This jazz man, he plays one,/He plays rhythm with his thumb,/With a Snap! Snap! Snazzy-snap!/Give the man a hand,/This jazz man scats with the band. The illustrations give clues to the performers, and the end matter has a biographical sketch for each one. In the final spread, all of the musicians are together, taking bows: These jazz men make one great band! The energetic collage illustrations introduce the action by picturing bold striped curtains encompassing an empty stage set up with jazz instruments; each performer's subsequent spread has striped borders. Onomatopoeic words spill across the pages in imitation of the music's sounds. The book is fun for jazz aficionados and neophytes alike. Children will enjoy the sounds and illustrations and sing along without needing to know more.

Note to readers:
•  This story is written to the tune of “This old man.” Use this to help you read the story. The pages in the back of the book have a short biography on ten famous jazz musicians. Read up on this before and try to incorporate this into the reading.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Look at the cover. Have you ever heard jazz music? What kinds of instruments are used to play jazz music?
•  What other types of music do you know of? (Rap, hip-hop, pop, classical, etc.) What instruments are used to play these kinds of music?
•  Where did jazz music begin? (New Orleans) Find New Orleans on the map.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What does the story mean when it says “give the man a hand?” (Either clap or help make more music). Can you help the musicians make the music? (Have the children help make the noises on each page i.e. Snap!snap!Snazzy-snap!)
•  How do you feel when you listen to different types of music? What kind of music makes you feel happy? What kinds of music makes you feel sad? What kinds of music makes you feel excited? What kinds of music make you feel angry?
•  When this jazz man plays three, he plays congas “tween his knees.” Is “tween” a real word? What does it mean?
•  If time allows, read the book again having the children read/sing with you.

Craft ideas:
•  Bring ahead option: Make a tambourine using two paper plates, a stapler, and beans. Put two paper plates together, one face up and one face down so that it creates a hollow center. Staple all the way around to seal the plates, leaving a hole at the top to insert beans. Put a few beans inside the plates (a small handful—if it is too full, it will be hard to make a good sound). Staple the hole at the top. Now you have a tambourine!
•  Make a horn out of construction paper.
•  Make a jazz man costume using construction paper. To make the hat, draw a large hat on a piece of construction paper. Cut the hat out. Cut a strip of paper (about 2 inches wide and the length of the long side of a piece of paper). Glue or tape the middle of the strip to the back of the hat. Wrap the strip around the child’s head and glue or tape together. For the bowtie, follow the same directions, only drawing and cutting out a bowtie instead of a hat and wrapping the strip loosely around the child’s neck.

Special activities:
•  Form a Jazz Band! Wear your costumes and play your instruments or snap/clap/stomp as you parade around the room.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't 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!