Reading/Interest Level: Preschool, Primary
Author: Walter Dean Myers
Illustrator: Christopher Myers
Publisher: Holiday House
Jazz is a colorful poetry picture book that gives readers a look into the exciting world of jazz music. The book starts off with a brief introduction of the rich history of jazz. It draws on that history through a series of poems. These poems depict all things jazz, from styles to musical instruments to prominent musicians. This book not only encourages readers to appreciate jazz but to understand its profound history. Myers provides a glossary of jazz terms used in the poetry found at the end of the book, as well as a timeline of important jazz events ranging from 1800 to the present day.
This book really encapsulates the spirit of jazz. The poetry is very rhythmic; it feels like it ought to be spoken or sang rather than read. You can’t help but hear and feel the words. The poetry feels unrehearsed but intentional, which reflects the improvisational nature of jazz that is described in the book’s introduction. This book is enhanced by the vibrant illustrations, done by Christopher Myers. These dynamic illustrations use color and light to help convey the mood of the poem and the jazz it is describing. The emotionality and movement of the illustrations enhances that of the words. These cadenced poems are given even more meaning when paired with the glossary of terms and timeline of jazz. This book is a beautiful read for those curious about jazz, and lovers of jazz alike.