cover image When Louis Armstrong Taught Me Scat

When Louis Armstrong Taught Me Scat

Muriel Harris Weinstein, , illus. by R. Gregory Christie. . Chronicle, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-5131-2

With the synergy of a veteran jazz duo, debut author Weinstein and Christie (Jazz Baby ) pay rollicking tribute to Satchmo and the singing style he popularized. Freewheeling verbal and visual riffs elevate the simple plot: after a mother and daughter dance to the radio before bedtime (“We spin an’ twirl around, waggle our heads an’ wiggle our hips”), the girl learns to sing scat—about her bubble gum—when Armstrong visits her in a dream. “Rippety wrapper/ glittery new/ pinkety sweet/ stickety chew.” Children can both giggle at the bouncy non sequiturs (“Cricket’s throne/ puppy’s bone/ bug’s umbrella/ mozzarella???”) and absorb some musical history from endnotes on Armstrong and scat. Christie’s vibrant acrylics offer a pleasing, surreal fluidity. Floating purple trumpets, a winding musical staff and appearances by some hep-looking animals all jell with the anything-goes nature of the subject. Ages 5–9. (Feb.)