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Kiddie Lit on Ella Fitzgerald

You have to start a child’s jazz education at an early age, but giving gifts like Mosaic box sets isn’t really fair. Never mind the kids, most adults don’t have the attention span required to wade through those monstrous jazz collections. Youngsters do like being read to, though, especially from books with colorful pictures. And why shouldn’t the stories be about jazz?

Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuosa (Hyperion) tells the story of the First Lady of Song’s rise to stardom and makes for a pleasant bedtime story, perhaps with one of Verve’s Fitzgerald Songbooks CDs playing lightly in the background. Brian and Andrea Davis Pinkney (a husband-and-wife team) wrote the book in the voice of Scat Cat Monroe, a suit-clad kitty who apparently saw everything from Ella’s first experiments with tap-dancing to her legendary performances at the Savoy Ballroom. Brian’s Van Gogh-like illustrations present the story with a swirling, colorful effect sure to inspire dreams of a swinging time gone by in any pre-pubescent’s sound slumber.

Originally Published