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WHEN LOUIS ARMSTRONG TAUGHT ME SCAT

Author: Muriel Harris Weinstein

Illustrator: R. Gregory Christie

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Publisher: Chronicle Books,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Momma has the radio on and is listening to jazz. When she hears Louis Armstrong singing, they both just have to get up and dance. What are those words Momma is singing? It is scat -- musical poetry. That nights, as Sugar is nodding off to sleep, she meets none other than Louis Armstrong himself. Together, they create a bubble gum song ... scat style, of course! Sing along in this story that gets kids engaged in learning how to scat.

Type of Reading: family reading, playtime reading, read aloud book, interactive reading

Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 7; read yourself: 8 to 10

Interest Level: 3 to 9

Reading Level: 3.7

Age of Child: Started reading with a 7-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: It took a couple of times to get through the story from beginning to end, because we had lots of questions. Our daughter wanted to memorize some of the phrases, which made for fun, interactive reading.

Adult Reader Reaction: This is a clever, fun way to introduce kids not only to a music style, but also Louis Armstrong himself. The factual material in the back is a wonderful complement to the story, which brings the music to life. The colorful text, which moves all over the page, adds to the rhythm, too.

Pros: Get ready for some grooving, moving and musical tuning when you share this book with a child.

Cons: None!

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. This colorful picture book is fun to read ... and you're likely to read it a couple of times.

If You Liked This Book, Try: HIP HOP SPEAKS TO CHILDREN   NINE FAMOUS ARTISTS YOUR CHILDREN WILL LOVE; An Art Discovery Primer and Handbook for Parents and Their Children   HOUSE OF DANCE

Educational Themes: The bubble gum song in the story is a great model for how to create scat. It also shows that you can sing about anything, so invite your child to write his own tune. If you're not musical, have fun just making up words and stringing them along. Thanks to the Internet and online video, you can probably find someone performing a Louis Armstrong song and truly bring the book to life. The details about Armstrong's life and scat in the back are great places to start learning music history.

Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 3.7

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, music

Date(s) Reviewed: October 2008

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