This month I am reviewing Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler and beautifully illustrated by R. Gregory Christie.
Jazz Baby is a new book to me, but was written in 2007 by American author Lisa Wheeler. It is a book about a baby whose world is filled with music. Everyone in Jazz Baby’s life sings, or dances, or taps/claps out rhythm throughout Baby’s day and Baby gets to join in too. The music starts gently, with a little tapping, and builds to the point where even the neighbours are joining in, then calms down to a gentle rhythm again to lull baby off to sleep – in much the same way as many pieces of music start off quietly and gently, build to a crescendo, and then gently die away at the end.
This book is written in verse, unashamedly rhythmic verse, you can even hear music accompanying it as you read it aloud – maybe that’s just me! But I doubt that anyone reading this book aloud would be able to avoid at least tapping their feet along to the beat, or pulse of the verse!
It is a good book for starting to explore different ideas of rhythm and sound and how they are made with your little one:
You can read the book using different voices – use a high voice when it says “Mama sings high” or “Mama swings high” and a low voice when it says “Daddy sings low” or “Daddy swings low”. Use a loud voice as Baby exclaims “GO, MAN, GO!” There is plenty of opportunity to explore using your voice in different ways in this book, and in my experience babies love to hear you using lots of different voices, and the full range of your voice from high to low and loud to quiet when reading to them.
Jazz Baby would make a great bedtime story for small children, and would be good for young readers to attempt for themselves. It uses simple, easy to understand language, and the rhythm of the words would help younger children understand and enjoy the book. On Amazon it suggests that it is suitable for 4-7 year olds. I think this is a suggestion only in terms of the child being able to read the book by themselves, as I would suggest it is aimed at children 4 and under if you are reading to them.
I bought this hard cover copy of Jazz Baby from Amazon, and at the time of writing it was priced at £10.44