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The Music in George's Head: George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody in Blue

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George Gershwin heard music all the time—at home, at school, even on New York City’s busy streets. Classical, ragtime, blues, and jazz—George’s head was filled with a whole lot of razzmatazz! With rhythmic swirls of words and pictures, author Suzanne Slade and illustrator Stacy Innerst beautifully reveal just how brilliantly Gershwin combined various kinds of music to crea George Gershwin heard music all the time—at home, at school, even on New York City’s busy streets. Classical, ragtime, blues, and jazz—George’s head was filled with a whole lot of razzmatazz! With rhythmic swirls of words and pictures, author Suzanne Slade and illustrator Stacy Innerst beautifully reveal just how brilliantly Gershwin combined various kinds of music to create his masterpiece, Rhapsody in Blue, a surprising and whirlwind composition of notes, sounds, and one long wail of a clarinet. Includes author’s note, timeline, and bibliography.


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George Gershwin heard music all the time—at home, at school, even on New York City’s busy streets. Classical, ragtime, blues, and jazz—George’s head was filled with a whole lot of razzmatazz! With rhythmic swirls of words and pictures, author Suzanne Slade and illustrator Stacy Innerst beautifully reveal just how brilliantly Gershwin combined various kinds of music to crea George Gershwin heard music all the time—at home, at school, even on New York City’s busy streets. Classical, ragtime, blues, and jazz—George’s head was filled with a whole lot of razzmatazz! With rhythmic swirls of words and pictures, author Suzanne Slade and illustrator Stacy Innerst beautifully reveal just how brilliantly Gershwin combined various kinds of music to create his masterpiece, Rhapsody in Blue, a surprising and whirlwind composition of notes, sounds, and one long wail of a clarinet. Includes author’s note, timeline, and bibliography.

30 review for The Music in George's Head: George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody in Blue

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    I absolutely love this book. I am a huge George Gershwin fan, so it seemed natural for me to pick it up and absorb it immediately upon seeing it. The illustrations are marvelous and fit perfectly with the story of how George came to write his masterpiece, "Rhapsody in Blue". I hope children will pick this one up - not many know who he is anymore. Maybe the adults in their lives will see this, get it for them, and introduce them to this amazing composer, as well as to his music. I absolutely love this book. I am a huge George Gershwin fan, so it seemed natural for me to pick it up and absorb it immediately upon seeing it. The illustrations are marvelous and fit perfectly with the story of how George came to write his masterpiece, "Rhapsody in Blue". I hope children will pick this one up - not many know who he is anymore. Maybe the adults in their lives will see this, get it for them, and introduce them to this amazing composer, as well as to his music.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    Everything about this book pulled me in--from the rendering of the cityscape on the endpapers, to the changing shades of blue in the artwork, to the mash-up of hand lettering and text. George Gershwin listened to and absorbed the sounds around him, whether they be the classical music in the arcade, the ragtime in Harlem, the city noise around him, or the sound of the train on which he was traveling. Includes an Author's Note, Timeline and Bibliography. Everything about this book pulled me in--from the rendering of the cityscape on the endpapers, to the changing shades of blue in the artwork, to the mash-up of hand lettering and text. George Gershwin listened to and absorbed the sounds around him, whether they be the classical music in the arcade, the ragtime in Harlem, the city noise around him, or the sound of the train on which he was traveling. Includes an Author's Note, Timeline and Bibliography.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    I was delighted to see this book for children on Gershwin, which is subtitled “George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody in Blue.” As the book begins, the author reports that Gershwin, even as a child, heard music in his head all the time in the streets of New York where he grew up. His mother bought a piano for George and his brother Ira, but Ira decided he had no interest. As for George though, as the author reports, “When he felt those smooth keys beneath his fingers, his face lit up like the lights on I was delighted to see this book for children on Gershwin, which is subtitled “George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody in Blue.” As the book begins, the author reports that Gershwin, even as a child, heard music in his head all the time in the streets of New York where he grew up. His mother bought a piano for George and his brother Ira, but Ira decided he had no interest. As for George though, as the author reports, “When he felt those smooth keys beneath his fingers, his face lit up like the lights on Broadway.” He learned to play almost by instinct. He also began studying piano and sneaking into concerts to hear others play. When he was 15, he got a job at a music store, playing sheet music customers wanted to hear. He penned his own songs too, and at 17, he sold his first tune. He wrote “Swanee” when only 20 years old. But he loved jazz, and decided to write a jazz concerto, which was of course “Rhapsody in Blue.” It premiered on February 12, 1924. The author opines: “No one had ever heard anything like it. Except George. He’d been hearing beautiful music all his life.” Like other books for children on music, this one is full of musical onomatopoeia that helps conveys the sounds incorporated into Gershwin’s music. Much of the inspiration for the author's text comes from Gershwin’s own words, who, for example, told his biographer: "It was on the train, with its steely rhythms, its rattle-ty bang, that is so often so stimulating to a composer – I frequently hear music in the very heart of the noise.... And there I suddenly heard, and even saw on paper – the complete construction of the Rhapsody, from beginning to end. No new themes came to me, but I worked on the thematic material already in my mind and tried to conceive the composition as a whole. I heard it as a sort of musical kaleidoscope of America, of our vast melting pot, of our unduplicated national pep, of our metropolitan madness.” The illustrations by Stacy Innerst put the words of the author into motion, cleverly showing the influences that went into “Rhapsody in Blue” in stylized jazzy acrylics painted in a palette dominated by blue. An Author’s Note at the end of the book lists some of Gershwin’s other accomplishments, from his songs for Broadway (they included “I Got Rhythm,” “Someone to Watch Over Me,” and “Embraceable You”) to writing the acclaimed opera “Porgy and Bess” (my favorite opera, of course). (Note: Many of his lyrics were written by his brother Ira.) Tragically, Gershwin died of a brain tumor at age 38. (It is possible his death could have been prevented. You can read an article on what happened here.) Evaluation: I think it would be fun and interesting for kids to learn about musical antecedents, from "Tin Pan Alley" to the beginnings of jazz and blues. Much of what they listen to today owes a great deal to these roots.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    The author, Suzanne Slade, has done it again! She has written a delightful picture book about a historical figure. This book on George Gershwin is illustrated by Stacy Innerst with joyful notes and scenes in blue and black representing the creation of the musical piece, Rhapsody in Blue. We learn about the childhood of this musical genius and his rise to fame combining his love of classical, ragtime, blues and jazz into his written scores. Page after page helps the reader flow musically through The author, Suzanne Slade, has done it again! She has written a delightful picture book about a historical figure. This book on George Gershwin is illustrated by Stacy Innerst with joyful notes and scenes in blue and black representing the creation of the musical piece, Rhapsody in Blue. We learn about the childhood of this musical genius and his rise to fame combining his love of classical, ragtime, blues and jazz into his written scores. Page after page helps the reader flow musically through the text and pictures. This book has won numerous awards: *Four Starred Reviews - Kirkus, Booklist, School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Booklist Top 10 Art Books for Youth! Children in grade K-2 will especially enjoy this book. (less) May 22, 2017 07:37PM ·

  5. 4 out of 5

    Doc.

    I did not expect to read anything today that would trump the finale to Aaron Becker’s epic Journey trilogy. But I picked up this lovely, energetic, well-produced picture book on a whim, as I so enjoy listening to Gershwin, and ended up being blown away. I did not expect to read anything today that would trump the finale to Aaron Becker’s epic Journey trilogy. But I picked up this lovely, energetic, well-produced picture book on a whim, as I so enjoy listening to Gershwin, and ended up being blown away.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Laura (Book Scrounger)

    While living in the UK, my family somehow acquired a cassette tape (yes, this was in the 90s) at a gas station (or petrol, as they called it there) called "Miles of Classical." It contained several well-known orchestral pieces of music, including Strauss's "Blue Danube," a movement from Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake," and, the fifth and last piece on side 1 of the cassette, George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," or at least an abbreviated version of it. Other than "The Nutcracker," I didn't have much l While living in the UK, my family somehow acquired a cassette tape (yes, this was in the 90s) at a gas station (or petrol, as they called it there) called "Miles of Classical." It contained several well-known orchestral pieces of music, including Strauss's "Blue Danube," a movement from Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake," and, the fifth and last piece on side 1 of the cassette, George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," or at least an abbreviated version of it. Other than "The Nutcracker," I didn't have much love for orchestral music, but listening to that cassette over and over and over on long drives really helped me and my siblings to develop more appreciation for some of these favorites. I'm still not sure I really "understand" jazz music, but Gershwin's piece was definitely my favorite on that cassette. It reminded me at various points of a morning sunrise and a predator/prey chase scene. The piano solo always amazed me. I would try to visualize the showmanship and talent that a piece like that must require. It wasn't until adulthood that I heard the piece in full, and also learned that Gershwin gave the opening notes to a clarinet rather than a saxophone, which made me like him even more (I took clarinet lessons in high school but never did anything cool like that with it). So when I heard there was a book out called The Music in George's Head: George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody in Blue, I knew I had to procure it someday. There were few pieces of music that I would have been more interested in learning about than this one, but I also wondered how the translation of jazz-to-picture-book would go. I think it's fabulous. Everything is drawn in shades of blue with some earth tones thrown in -- gray-blues on the city streets, navy blue swirls of musical notes and piano keys, baby blues for people and sheets of music.. the whole book comes alive in a cool jazz-blue world, where it recounts factual information but also skips and bumps along at times with a steady, jazzy feel. Most of the text is written in a normal cadence and is not difficult to understand or read, but sometimes we have a "rattle-ty bang" of train tracks or the "WuaaaAAA..." of the clarinet. "Sleepy eyes flew open. Restless listeners sat still. People heading for the door hurried back to their seats. Trombones and trumpets blew brassy sounds -- small and soft, then big and bright. Velvety violins started to sing. More musicians joined in. Each carefully playing their sheets of music. Fingers flying, George made those piano keys MARCH. SKIP. Dance. But he didn't have sheet music. George played the notes in his head." Wish I could've been there!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    I learned things about George Gershwin I never knew and the blue and brown illustrations made this book really special. One of my new favorite nonfiction biography picture books.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ivan

    I loved the illustrations. I can hardly wait to read this to a niece or nephew and them play them "Rhapsody in Blue." I loved the illustrations. I can hardly wait to read this to a niece or nephew and them play them "Rhapsody in Blue."

  9. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    We loved how he was inspired by the music of the city. Plus he was 7 and loved to roller skate and play the piano just like jack!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Baby Bookworm

    This review was originally written for The Baby Bookworm. Visit us for new picture books reviews daily! Hello, friends! Sorry we missed our review yesterday, but we’re back today with The Music In George’s Head: George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody In Blue, written by Suzanne Slade and illustrated by Stacy Innerst, a magnificent look at the composer’s inspiration for the celebrated concerto. Even as a boy, George Gershwin heard and felt music all around him, even when there was none playing. He could This review was originally written for The Baby Bookworm. Visit us for new picture books reviews daily! Hello, friends! Sorry we missed our review yesterday, but we’re back today with The Music In George’s Head: George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody In Blue, written by Suzanne Slade and illustrated by Stacy Innerst, a magnificent look at the composer’s inspiration for the celebrated concerto. Even as a boy, George Gershwin heard and felt music all around him, even when there was none playing. He could hear it in the sounds of his city, the boisterous and insistent sounds of vehicles, buildings and people. George loved music, and strove to listen to it, learn it, and create it at every opportunity. He listened closely to many styles and artists, drawing inspiration from anywhere to compose his songs. In 1924, a concert was being put on to legitimize jazz, a genre that was popular but considered trivial at the time, and George was invited to compose a piece. Wanting to create something truly remarkable, George drew inspiration from everything he loved: classical music, jazz, ragtime, blues, and even the sounds of the city he’d loved and lived in all his life. He put the music in his head down on paper, and what he created was one of the most beloved pieces of music in history: Rhapsody In Blue. Who doesn’t love Rhapsody In Blue? The instrumental piece is considered one of the greatest American compositions of all time, and this was a fascinating look at how it came to be. The story is great, exploring Gershwin’s love of music, his vast sources of inspiration, and the composition of the concerto itself, including some details that even I found interesting. The art compliments the story perfectly, using a palette of blues, blacks and white to create the world of Gershwin’s city and his art, and featuring hand-written text that feels as free and flowing as the music it describes. The length was good for bookworms JJ’s age, and we both really enjoyed it. This one is a must for music lovers, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved! Be sure to check out The Baby Bookworm for more reviews!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    I love all the wonderful picture book biographies that are being created now, and I really wish they had been around when I was a child. (Does anyone else remember reading those Childhood of Famous Americans books?) Suzanne Slade's new book on George Gershwin is captivating in its presentation of how Gershwin grew up to become one of America's most famous songwriters. And Stacy Innerst's illustrations take the coloring from George's "Rhapsody in Blue" and use it as a signature palette throughout I love all the wonderful picture book biographies that are being created now, and I really wish they had been around when I was a child. (Does anyone else remember reading those Childhood of Famous Americans books?) Suzanne Slade's new book on George Gershwin is captivating in its presentation of how Gershwin grew up to become one of America's most famous songwriters. And Stacy Innerst's illustrations take the coloring from George's "Rhapsody in Blue" and use it as a signature palette throughout the book. Key events from George's life are shared with the reader, things like his fascination with "Melody in F" after he heard it at a nearby penny arcade, or the way he taught himself to play the piano by copying the movement of the keys on a player piano at a friend's house. Many of the illustrations show Gershwin either playing an instrument, or thinking up a song with musical notes dancing around him. I especially like the double-page spread that shows the influences he included in his "Rhapsody in Blue." Slade describes the concerto as a "musical kaleidoscope of America's melting pot." Innerst has pictured New York in the background, along with a jack hammer, a train, Duke Ellington, Bessie Smith, a clarinet player in Orthodox Jewish clothing, and a couple dancing. Tying the figures together is a stream of musical notes coming from George's piano keys and sheet music blowing from his piano and then twisting and floating through the other scenes. It truly captures the feel of how everything he experienced became an influence on his work. The word choices also carry a lot of the weight in conveying the story clearly. When the text states that "A clarinet fluttered softly, like butterfly wings on a morning breeze," or that the song was "daring, and razzmatazz dazzling" readers can imagine how those first audiences reacted to his music. Young readers will enjoy the way that the story comes full circle. It begins with "George heard music all the time" and ends with "He'd been hearing beautiful music all his life." The Author's Note, Illustrator's Note, timeline, and bibliography all give added details to support the story. Highly recommended for school libraries (particularly elementary) and for music teachers who enjoy sharing biographies of famous composers and performers with their classes. I received a copy from the publisher for review purposes.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    Slade and Innerst have created a great picture book biography that can be used with all ages. George could always hear music in his head that was many times initiated by sounds such as horns (beep beep), trains (click click clack), dancer (tap tap), and famous singers at concerts he attended. Even as a child, he was composing music at his piano from the sounds he heard. He sold his first song at 17. The climax of the book is the composition and performance of “Rhapsody in Blue”. Innerst color sc Slade and Innerst have created a great picture book biography that can be used with all ages. George could always hear music in his head that was many times initiated by sounds such as horns (beep beep), trains (click click clack), dancer (tap tap), and famous singers at concerts he attended. Even as a child, he was composing music at his piano from the sounds he heard. He sold his first song at 17. The climax of the book is the composition and performance of “Rhapsody in Blue”. Innerst color scheme of white, black, various shades of blue and a tan color are very fitting for the landscape of the this book. His uses of a variety of texts, block print, cursive and D’Nealian print in many different sizes and curves across the page to give the reader a feel of the music as it is being read. The creativity that Slade and Innerst use in words and artwork reflect the life and music that Gershwin shared with the world. STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES & CLASSROOM APPLICATIONS: Strengths 1. The author’s and illustrator’s notes give more information about Gershwin and the time period. 2. Visually appealing to reader while telling the story. Weaknesses 1. Some of the text is hand lettered in cursive and D’Nealian print and maybe hard for young readers to read. Classroom Applications Music Class – (1) The author’s and illustrator’s information could be used for researching the musician or his music. (2) The book could be used as a read aloud to highlight a jazz musician at any grade level. (3) Used for Music in Our School Month in March. Art Class – Used as an example how lettering and fonts can become of or enhance artwork.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    I loved reading this story, love all of Gershman's music. What a gift he had, and this particular one tells about his beginnings, roller skating by jazz clubs and staying to listen for hours. When the family finally purchased a piano they were astounded to see him play a sophisticated tune immediately. It's simply a story about Rhapsody In Blue, where George got his idea, and the marvelous parts added by chance. Stacy Innerst, illustrator, shares that her depictions are based on archival photogr I loved reading this story, love all of Gershman's music. What a gift he had, and this particular one tells about his beginnings, roller skating by jazz clubs and staying to listen for hours. When the family finally purchased a piano they were astounded to see him play a sophisticated tune immediately. It's simply a story about Rhapsody In Blue, where George got his idea, and the marvelous parts added by chance. Stacy Innerst, illustrator, shares that her depictions are based on archival photographs, and they reflect that "Rhapsody", too, all in blue tones. The pages are nearly like the music, innovative page by page. The story offers just enough to spark an interest in knowing more. There are author's and illustrator's notes, a timeline, a bibliography and acknowledgments.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    "George's Rhapsody in Blue was smooth and sultry. Brash and bouncy... No one had ever heard anything like it. Except George. He'd been hearing beautiful music all his life." As a youngster, beautiful is certainly not the word I would have ever used to describe George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. But just as my palate for different, more sophisticated foods has expanded as an adult, so too has my ear for music. Now instead of groaning every time I hear the introductory shrieking notes of the clarine "George's Rhapsody in Blue was smooth and sultry. Brash and bouncy... No one had ever heard anything like it. Except George. He'd been hearing beautiful music all his life." As a youngster, beautiful is certainly not the word I would have ever used to describe George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. But just as my palate for different, more sophisticated foods has expanded as an adult, so too has my ear for music. Now instead of groaning every time I hear the introductory shrieking notes of the clarinet that signals this piece of music, now I just smile, sit back, and enjoy this 17 minute piece of Americana. The moody blue palate of the illustrations are somehow both brooding and uplifting at the same time. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    "I frequently hear music in the very heart of noise." George Gershwin What a fascinating read about the creative process of George Gershwin. (Some of the most famous clarinet notes in history started as a joke??) It gives me an even greater appreciation of Rhapsody in Blue, which seemed to have burst fully scored from the rattling of a train. So amazing. While reading, listen to this Leonard Bernstein & NY Philharmonic version. It's gorgeous! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cH2PH... A great author "I frequently hear music in the very heart of noise." George Gershwin What a fascinating read about the creative process of George Gershwin. (Some of the most famous clarinet notes in history started as a joke??) It gives me an even greater appreciation of Rhapsody in Blue, which seemed to have burst fully scored from the rattling of a train. So amazing. While reading, listen to this Leonard Bernstein & NY Philharmonic version. It's gorgeous! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cH2PH... A great author's note, bibliography and timeline are included in the back.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Joanne Roberts

    Bizarre fonts are used to move the text through the pages like music. Interesting history of the composer centering on the creation of Rhapsody in Blue. Skillful use of narrative to weave together early influences culminating in creation of this amalgamated song.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Viviane Elbee

    Interesting non-fiction biography about George Gershwin's musical career. Interesting non-fiction biography about George Gershwin's musical career.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ben Truong

    The Music in George's Head: George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody in Blue is a children's picture book written by Suzanne Slade and illustrated by Stacy Innerst. It follows George Gershwin's creative process, from inception to premiere of "Rhapsody in Blue". George Gershwin was an American composer and pianist whose compositions spanned both popular and classical genres. Among his best-known works are the orchestral compositions Rhapsody in Blue (1924) and An American in Paris (1928), the songs Swanee The Music in George's Head: George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody in Blue is a children's picture book written by Suzanne Slade and illustrated by Stacy Innerst. It follows George Gershwin's creative process, from inception to premiere of "Rhapsody in Blue". George Gershwin was an American composer and pianist whose compositions spanned both popular and classical genres. Among his best-known works are the orchestral compositions Rhapsody in Blue (1924) and An American in Paris (1928), the songs Swanee (1919) and Fascinating Rhythm (1924), the jazz standard I Got Rhythm (1930), and the opera Porgy and Bess (1935) which spawned the hit Summertime. Slade's text is rather simplistic, straightforward, and informative. Through evocative storytelling, expressive hand-lettered text, and dynamic paintings, the narrative explores the making of Gershwin's acclaimed "Rhapsody in Blue". An author and illustrator's note, timeline, and bibliography could be found in the backmatter. Fittingly, Innerst uses swathes of indigo blue paint in images that seem to sway with the music George heard around him. The premise of the book is rather straightforward. This biography describes how music captivated George from an early age, spending hours at the family piano, sneaking into concert halls to hear famous pianists, and selling his first song at age seventeen. All in all, The Music in George's Head: George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody in Blue is a wonderful and accessible picture book of George Gershwin.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jaime Small

    I had heard the name Gershwin and couldn’t remember why it was familiar until I looked it up and saw that it is where Wicked has been playing on Broadway for over 10 years. The book talks about how George felt about music and mentions Broadway “When he felt those smooth keys beneath his fingers, his face lit up like the lights on Broadway.” I really enjoyed learning more about a man who was so influential to music. The illustrations are beautiful as well as the text contributing to telling the s I had heard the name Gershwin and couldn’t remember why it was familiar until I looked it up and saw that it is where Wicked has been playing on Broadway for over 10 years. The book talks about how George felt about music and mentions Broadway “When he felt those smooth keys beneath his fingers, his face lit up like the lights on Broadway.” I really enjoyed learning more about a man who was so influential to music. The illustrations are beautiful as well as the text contributing to telling the story. The hand drawn text makes it feel like the author is composing the story and writing notes or rhythms throughout the story. When Gershwin is on the train hearing his masterpiece of “Rhapsody in Blue” we read onomatopoeia with the “rattle-ty, bang!” of the train creating music. I felt like this was very a successful technique to continue the love of music throughout George’s life past his adolescence and how his masterpiece came to be. I really liked how the onomatopoeia was written text as well to create the musicality rather than it being typed. It added a personal touch to it. I also enjoyed the author’s note and timeline at the end of the book. It gave more biographical details on Gershwin that a reader might have been curious about and also supported the story.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mackenzie Wardle

    George was a young boy living in New York city that seemed to always be hearing music wherever he went. No one knew George's strong love and interest in music until his mother bought him a second hand piano. George studied music whenever he could and snuck into concerts to hear famous musicians such as Liszt, Ornstein, and Busoni. He got a job at a music store when he was fifteen and at age seventeen, he sold his first sheet music. By 1920, everyone knew of George Gershwin. He knew everything fo George was a young boy living in New York city that seemed to always be hearing music wherever he went. No one knew George's strong love and interest in music until his mother bought him a second hand piano. George studied music whenever he could and snuck into concerts to hear famous musicians such as Liszt, Ornstein, and Busoni. He got a job at a music store when he was fifteen and at age seventeen, he sold his first sheet music. By 1920, everyone knew of George Gershwin. He knew everything for classical and ragtime to jazz and the blues. He heard music walking in the street and riding on the train. At his concert, he was one of the last to perform and woke up the sleepy crowd. This is a great story for children to boost their confidence. They will understand from this story that they can accomplish anything and be anyone.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen Dixon

    On our voyage through the orchestra we’ve come to the clarinet. I did a search on the library’s database for books for children with the clarinet as a key point and it gave me this. A book about George Gershwin writing Rhapsody in Blue! Fabulous! And the iconic beginning with the clarinet doing that gorgeous swoop is perfect for illustrating it at homeschool. Oh, how I love YouTube as I played it while I read this book aloud, and then played it again while they drew a picture in response to the On our voyage through the orchestra we’ve come to the clarinet. I did a search on the library’s database for books for children with the clarinet as a key point and it gave me this. A book about George Gershwin writing Rhapsody in Blue! Fabulous! And the iconic beginning with the clarinet doing that gorgeous swoop is perfect for illustrating it at homeschool. Oh, how I love YouTube as I played it while I read this book aloud, and then played it again while they drew a picture in response to the book and music. Gershwin’s story is told really nicely. Aren’t people clever, the way they can reduce something so it’s clear, succinct, and interesting for kids?! And I love the illustrations - just about all in shades of blue. What a pleasure this was.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Christina Getrost

    Beautiful blue-toned acrylic paintings illustrate this picture book story of George Gershwin as a child, showing how he loved music, hearing it everywhere in the city noises around him, and how he grew up to become a "song plugger" playing Tin Pan Alley songs before composing his own music. The text gives a nice description of the music he composes, envisioning the combination of jazz and blues, and the visual design imparts this by using hand-lettered phrases flowing through the pages like musi Beautiful blue-toned acrylic paintings illustrate this picture book story of George Gershwin as a child, showing how he loved music, hearing it everywhere in the city noises around him, and how he grew up to become a "song plugger" playing Tin Pan Alley songs before composing his own music. The text gives a nice description of the music he composes, envisioning the combination of jazz and blues, and the visual design imparts this by using hand-lettered phrases flowing through the pages like music notes. Author's note with more details of the composer's life, a timeline, and sources for his quotations.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Madeline Krasnasky

    I wasn't a fan of this book. It was interesting but not entertaining. The colors of blue and blacks related to the smooth and calming sounds of actual jazz music, however, this also created a lack of excitement. I enjoyed how the worked on the pages "danced" as if they were actually music being played. The pictures were very undetailed but presented the reader with an idea of what was going on or where the story was taking place. Due to the fancy writing and placement of words, it was sometimes I wasn't a fan of this book. It was interesting but not entertaining. The colors of blue and blacks related to the smooth and calming sounds of actual jazz music, however, this also created a lack of excitement. I enjoyed how the worked on the pages "danced" as if they were actually music being played. The pictures were very undetailed but presented the reader with an idea of what was going on or where the story was taking place. Due to the fancy writing and placement of words, it was sometimes confusing to read because the pages seemed to be very busy, but this was a cool aspect that the illustrator decided to include. I liked the book in general but is not one of my favorites.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Beth Anderson

    A beautifully woven thread of hearing music in everyday life carries the reader through George Gershwin’s life. We discover how those sounds inspired him and how his exposure to new genres of music added to the mix in his head and affected his compositions. Gershwin’s story is a great example of how we are shaped by our environment and experiences. The illustrations, featuring a multitude of blues, are lively and inviting. The text joins in to also graphically express the feelings evoked by musi A beautifully woven thread of hearing music in everyday life carries the reader through George Gershwin’s life. We discover how those sounds inspired him and how his exposure to new genres of music added to the mix in his head and affected his compositions. Gershwin’s story is a great example of how we are shaped by our environment and experiences. The illustrations, featuring a multitude of blues, are lively and inviting. The text joins in to also graphically express the feelings evoked by music.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cheriee Weichel

    I can't gush about this too much. Stacy Innerst's illustrations with all those blues just WOW me. I'm compelled to return again and again to admire them. The typeface, text, and these illustrations are inseparable from the narrative. It all came together to enthral me in this picture biography of George Gershwin. I can't gush about this too much. Stacy Innerst's illustrations with all those blues just WOW me. I'm compelled to return again and again to admire them. The typeface, text, and these illustrations are inseparable from the narrative. It all came together to enthral me in this picture biography of George Gershwin.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Razzmatazz. Born Sept 26 1898 - died 1937 at 38 years of age. Real name Jacob. The first feature length movie with talking and music "The Jazz Singer" in 1927. Music from George's life--classical ragtime jazz blue notes and a rattle-ty-bang train-- inspired Rhapsody in Blue which also included klezmer music from Jewish celebrations. "Swanee" was his first hit sung by Al Jolson in 1920. Razzmatazz. Born Sept 26 1898 - died 1937 at 38 years of age. Real name Jacob. The first feature length movie with talking and music "The Jazz Singer" in 1927. Music from George's life--classical ragtime jazz blue notes and a rattle-ty-bang train-- inspired Rhapsody in Blue which also included klezmer music from Jewish celebrations. "Swanee" was his first hit sung by Al Jolson in 1920.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Davidson

    George Gershwin had an amazing talent for music. He heard music in everything and his compositions were created from what he heard and combined into something beautiful. This book tells about him and how he became famous, including how Rhapsody in Blue came to be.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I loved this book! Great period, urban illustrations. The story was lyrical and creative. I plan to share and teach this book with multiple grades. I'll use Gershwin music, and teach genre. I can easily compare/contrast Biography and Fiction. There are several literary elements used in this book, too. I can't wait to get a copy for my school library! I loved this book! Great period, urban illustrations. The story was lyrical and creative. I plan to share and teach this book with multiple grades. I'll use Gershwin music, and teach genre. I can easily compare/contrast Biography and Fiction. There are several literary elements used in this book, too. I can't wait to get a copy for my school library!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Maureen Tully

    Beautifully written and illustrated, plus it includes a great Author's Note and Timeline at the end that adds more details. It gives me a whole new appreciation for Gershin's music, especially the opening of his Rhapsody in Blue Beautifully written and illustrated, plus it includes a great Author's Note and Timeline at the end that adds more details. It gives me a whole new appreciation for Gershin's music, especially the opening of his Rhapsody in Blue

  30. 4 out of 5

    Miss Sarah

    An easy to follow picture book biography of music composer George Gershwin's compostition of the song Rhapsody in blue. I liked how focusing only on this song allowed more knowledge of his isnpiration. the author's note adds more to Gershwin's life. Elemnetary and up An easy to follow picture book biography of music composer George Gershwin's compostition of the song Rhapsody in blue. I liked how focusing only on this song allowed more knowledge of his isnpiration. the author's note adds more to Gershwin's life. Elemnetary and up

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