- Kids Nonfiction
- Welcome to Jazz: A Swing-Along Celebration of America’s Music, Featuring “When the Saints Go Marching In”
Welcome to Jazz: A Swing-Along Celebration of America’s Music, Featuring “When the Saints Go Marching In”
In this interactive swing-along picture book with 12 sound chips, you’ll hear the instruments of jazz—the rhythm section with its banjo, drums, and tuba, and the leads, like the clarinet, trumpet, and trombone. And you’ll hear singers scat, improvising melodies with nonsense syllables like be-bop and doo-we-ah!
Along the way, you’ll learn how this unique African American art form started in New Orleans, and how jazz changed over time as innovative musicians like King Oliver, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Billie Holiday added their own ideas to it.
Press the buttons to hear the band, the rhythms, and the singer calling out: “OH WHEN THE SAINTS—oh when the saints…”
The book also has a sound feature, which can be turned on and off via a switch on the back. This includes the overall jazz song of "When the Saints Go Marching In" plus various instrumental parts (banjo, drums, trumpet, trombone, clarinet, double bass, and tuba) and special jazz features such as improvisation, scatting, and call-and-response.
What I loved: Even as an adult, there is a lot to learn from this book, which teaches in an easily accessible and approachable way. There's a lot of information here, and the flow is really perfect, teaching about the pieces/components of jazz in a way that makes logical sense. The bright, colorful images and artistic word designs add to the fun of this book. The cats are also really fun, especially for younger children, who will enjoy reading their dialogue (which is funny at times).
The music is the biggest draw and really adds a lot to learning. It is so much easier to understand when children can also hear what the book is describing. The panels can be pushed on the numbers, and children will learn this quickly such that even toddlers can explore the buttons by themselves and learn what the different instruments sound like.
Final verdict: Educational and entertaining, WELCOME TO JAZZ is a delightful book that can be enjoyed by children of a variety of ages. Older children will grasp more of the text, while younger children can enjoy the cats, brightly colored images, and delightful sounds. Be prepared to sing "When the Saints Go Marching In" as it is certain to get stuck in your head- a truly fun song! Overall, I would highly recommend this book for a wide variety of ages, for its great potential and execution.