Music is the universal language that transcends age and dance moves in the process. Jazz Baby, an oldie (2007) by Lisa Wheeler, is proof of that.
In the book, a very musical family claps their hands, snaps their fingers, and sings their heart out to a jazzy tune. As they do, the littlest member of the family – the Jazz Baby – mimics his loving family from his crib.
Lisa Wheeler’s prose offers that special smooth choppiness that is unique to this genre of music. It manages to light a body-bouncing fire under Jazz Baby in the opening pages, then lull him to sleep when the time is right.
Illustrator R. Gregory Christie captures the essence of jazz with the family members’ spaghetti arms, limber legs, and warm brown faces that invite the reader to “feel the rhythm of that jazzy beat.”
This one is great for Black History Month, discussions about diverse books, and/or early elementary music classes that introduce the various genres of music.