Monday, April 21, 2008

The Jazz Fly

So here's a little inside information about libraries. Every so often we need to weed our collection. This is a very difficult job, because who wants to take books off the shelf? But it has to be done. There are many things a librarian considers when deciding which books need to move on (By the way, libraries very seldom throw away books, so rest easy. Ours are either sold to raise money for the library or are donated to worthy projects.), but the most common factor is when was the last time the book was checked out. So if you want to see your favorite books always stay on the shelves, all you have to do is check it out and get your friends to do the same.

I thought to mention this because The Jazz Fly, by Matthew Gollub and illustrated by Karen Hanke, was on the chopping block, but was saved because someone checked it out recently. Which is a good thing in my opinion, because it's a wonderful and fun introduction to jazz music.

A fly cannot find his way to the jazz club. He asks some other animals for directions, but the fly only speaks jazz, and the other animals speak their own language. Finally the dog points with his nose.

At the club the band (with the fly on drums, Willie the Worm on bass, Nancy the Gnat on sax, and Sammy the Centipede on piano) must come up with a new, innovative sound or they will lose their gig.

The fly remembers the languages he heard (ribbit, oink, hee-haw, and ruff) and incorporates them into the music. It's a hit, and the new animal friends attend every show from then on.

An accompanying CD contains a musical version of the story. It's a jazz number performed by the author. He scats for the voice of the fly, and many of the jazzy words in the text are interpreted as musical instruments.

It's a bit fast, so your children may only learn the scatting parts, but that alone will endear them to the story and give them an early appreciation for the sounds of jazz music.

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