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The Jazz Fly

Last updated Thursday, February 24, 2011

Author: Matthew Gollub
Illustrator: Karen Hanke
Date of Publication: 2000
ISBN: 1889910171
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Mar. 2011

Synopsis: From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 1-When a drummer fly gets lost on his way to a gig, he tries to get directions from a frog, a pig, a donkey, and a dog, but none of them speaks his language. He finally finds his way to the club and all is well until the Queen Bee demands "-a new BEAT/or this band is OUT!" The fly is stymied until he remembers the retorts of the animals he heard on his way and uses those noises to create a whole new sound that makes the band famous. The rhyming text includes scat refrains like "ZA-baza, BOO-zaba, ZEE-zah RO-ni" that just beg to be read aloud. The unique illustrations, gray-toned pictures with contrasting hints of pastel colors, were accomplished by scanning pencil sketches into a Macintosh computer and then re-creating them with Adobe Illustrator. One spread features the gray figures of the bassist and saxophonist spotlighted in green and pink, respectively. The text itself is cleverly designed. Words representing sounds are portrayed as if they are coming right out of the animals' mouths in colored fonts. Together the illustrations and book design give the whole enterprise the feel of jazz, even without musical accompaniment. The accompanying CD is delightful. Gollub narrates with a jazzy beat, and the danceable music perfectly accentuates the story. Children will love hearing this book read aloud and imitating the animal sounds and other refrains. A natural for storytimes.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What sound does a fly make?
•  What are different kinds of music?
•  What kinds of sounds (music) does an animal make?

Vocab Words:
•  Bray
•  Firefly
•  Sashayed

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  During picture walk, ask what sounds animals make and what instrument an animal makes.
•  Have you ever asked for directions?
•  Have you ever been in a situation where someone doesn't understand you or you haven't understand them?

Craft ideas:
•  Create your own fly.
•  Have the kids create a band with the instruments they would want in their own band.
•  Create a flymobile.

Special activities:
•  Have each group of kids make different animal sounds to create an animal band.

*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!