cover image Charlie Parker Played Be Bop

Charlie Parker Played Be Bop

Chris Raschka, C. Raschka. Scholastic, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05999-9

Regardless of whether they've heard of jazz or Charlie Parker, young readers will bop to the pulsating beat of this sassy picture book. In a daring attempt to capture the raw energy of Parker's music (and in language recalling the verbal theatrics of Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault), Raschka combines a text that's as lean as a poem and as mean as a blues refrain (``Charlie Parker played be bop. / Charlie Parker played no trombone. / The music sounded like be bop. / Barbecue that last leg bone'') with vigorously skewed illustrations gleaming with sly wit. Even the typeface joins in the fun, as italics and boldface strut and swing across the pages. Those in the know will enjoy the inside jokes (the pages, for example, are decorated with birds, after Parker's nickname); young and old alike will find this a read-aloud that's hard to resist. And that's no jive. Ages 3-6. (Aug.)