cover image BRING ON THAT BEAT


Rachel Isadora, . . Putnam, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-23232-9

Some false notes won't keep most kids from enjoying Isadora's (Ben's Trumpet) tribute to the jazz that filled the streets of 1930s Harlem. Rather uninspired rhymed couplets make up the text: "Bring on that beat,/ Wake up the street./ Saxophone jive,/ keep us alive." Yet the visuals succeed in bringing the era to life. Full-spread black-and-white oil paintings depict a humming Harlem whose residents are seen either making or enjoying music. Small, electric-hued watercolor designs, laid over these scenes with the use of a computer, represent the tunes emanating from a variety of instruments played from stoop and rooftop. Though younger readers may have trouble making the connection between musical strains and these multicolored freeform shapes, the vivid splashes jazz up the otherwise muted graphics and express the energy that emanates from the music. Ages 4-8. (Jan.)