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Children’s Book Illustrates Giant Steps

“It’s John Coltrane’s marvelous and tricky composition, ‘Giant Steps,’ performed for you by a box, a snowflake, some raindrops and a kitten.”

Chris Raschka’s John Coltrane’s Giant Steps (Atheneum), a picture book set for a July release, depicts the famous saxophonist’s famous tune in watercolors and a few words, too. The paintings of snowflakes, raindrops, boxes and the kitten overlap each other in a way meant to symbolize Coltrane’s trademark “sheets of sound,” but to be honest, the pictures could be describing any Coltrane composition, even his wailing, late-period freak-outs. There is a charming, playful quality to the book, however, and if these pages hip a youngster to jazz, all the better.

Raschka is the author/illustrator of two other books with jazz themes: Mysterious Thelonious (where Raschka presents an illustrated version of Monk’s “Misterioso”) and Charlie Parker Played Be Bop (a book inspired by a recording of Bird doing “A Night in Tunisia”).

Originally Published