Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band

by Kwame Alexander (Author) Tim Bowers (Illustrator)

Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

When a jazz-loving rooster sets his sights on winning a barnyard talent show, he realizes he can't do it as a solo act. He's up against the talents of Mules Davis's cool duo and Ella Finchgerald's singing group.
Colorful artwork from artist Tim Bowers ensures this story doesn't miss a beat. A glossary of musical terms and intruments rounds out this perfect introduction to jazz for young readers.

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School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2--This delightful picture book explores the rich history of jazz via a story about a guitar-playing rooster who sets out to compete in the annual Barnyard Talent Show to find the farm's best band. Rooster would like to join Thelonius Monkey's crew, but the rules don't permit zoo animals. Ella Finchgerald has a trio, but Rooster doesn't scat. He decides to form his own band. "So, he went to see his cousin, /a pianist of great fame./And found him on the riverbank./Duck Ellington's his name." Duck, in top hat and bow tie, takes Rooster to the famed Cotton Club to hear Bee Holiday and other jazzy animals perform. Although the barnyard chicks "swoon" when Rooster's group plays The Hen from Ipanema, not even an encore in "grand finale style" wins the band first prize. Still, shades-wearing Mules Davis's comment, "That Rooster sure can play," leads to a satisfying ending. The large illustrations are done in bold colors and have humorous, jazzy details. Notes on "Musicians, Characters, and Music" are included in the back matter. Children who enjoyed Jarrett J. Krosoczka's Punk Farm (Knopf, 2005) will be taken with this one.--Keisha M. Miller, South Orange Public Library, NJ

Copyright 2011 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Kwame Alexander
Kwame Alexander is a poet, children's book author, playwright, producer, public speaker and performer. He conducts creative writing workshops in middle and high schools, often reaching more than 500 students monthly. He lives with his wife and two daughters in the Washington, D.C. area. Visit his website at
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Sleeping Bear Press
Publication date
August 20, 2011
BISAC categories
JUV002090 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Farm Animals
JUV031040 - Juvenile Fiction | Performing Arts | Music
Library of Congress categories
Stories in rhyme
Domestic animals

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