cover image Bird & Diz

Bird & Diz

Gary Golio, illus. by Ed Young. Candlewick, $19.99 (26p) ISBN 978-0-7636-6660-6

Young (Nighttime Ninja) draws this homage to Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker not on pages that turn, but on one long piece of stiff paper folded accordion-style, echoing the long, flowing phrases played by the inventors of bebop. “Two hearts—one heartbeat,” writes Golio (Spirit Seeker). “You can’t even tell whose notes are whose!” Young’s sinuous ink line bunches together to portray the faces of the two players, then loosens and grows as it follows the freedom and energy of the music. Scribbles of pink, orange, and blue correspond to bursts of bright notes. Golio’s language plays off the music: “I dare you, Birdman! Let it rip!” In the final images, the two musicians bump fists, then sling their arms around each other. Bebop, Golio explains in an afterword, was American music, and because Bird and Diz were black men, their “leadership in this new style of music brought them importance and respect at a time when there was widespread discrimination and racism.” The book’s language and images are every bit as vibrant as the music they celebrate. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Edward Necarsulmer IV, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner. (Feb.)