Bird & Diz

by Gary Golio (Author) Ed Young (Illustrator)

Bird & Diz
Reading Level: K − 1st Grade
An award-winning author and a Caldecott Medalist improvise a playful tribute to the creators of bebop--Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. When sax player Charlie "Bird" Parker and trumpeter John "Dizzy" Gillespie make music together, they toss notes back and forth like a game of tag and chase each other with sounds. As Dizzy's cheeks puff out like a frog with glasses, the two friends beep and bop and push each other to create a new kind of music--a thrilling fast jazz full of surprises. Blending a playful, rhythmic narration with expressive illustrations as fluid and dynamic as their subjects, this tribute to the masters of bebop by acclaimed biographer Gary Golio and beloved artist Ed Young will have readers hankering to listen for themselves.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

Gr 3 Up--This book's capable creators capture the flavor of "Salt Peanuts," a bebop classic associated with Charlie "Bird" Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. Golio has previously tackled the challenge of using words to present musicians as diverse as Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, and John Coltrane. The free verse is arranged to conjure speed and playfulness, and the imagery is amusing, i.e., Dizzy's puffy cheeks are compared to a frog's. The performance is presented as a game: "They take turns,/tossing notes back and forth like jugglers,/or play at the same time,/...Two hearts--one heartbeat." As they race to the finale, "Bird keeps flying, and Dizzy--/well, he's just plain dizzy!/They'll never catch each other,/but that's the point." The ever-experimental Young uses gouache and bursts of orange and pink pastel strokes to form Gillespie and his hot trumpet, whereas Coltrane's saxophone sounds are rendered in greens and blues. The golden brown paper is a subtle nod to the song's title and an effective foil for the color. Accordion pages pull out into a long spread, with the first side establishing the performers and their relationship. A river of ink on the water-repellant paper forms a beaded curvy line--the music pulsing across the gutters, climaxing in a rainbow of percussion. On the reverse, the letters of "bebop" blast out, morphing into frolicking abstractions. A brief afterword creates a context for bebop and encourages listening. It also admonishes readers to "pick up your crayons and draw!" That charge will be irresistible.--Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library

Copyright 2015 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

Young (Nighttime Ninja) draws this homage to Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker not on pages that turn, but on one long piece of stiff paper folded accordion-style, echoing the long, flowing phrases played by the inventors of bebop. "Two hearts--one heartbeat," writes Golio (Spirit Seeker). "You can't even tell whose notes are whose!" Young's sinuous ink line bunches together to portray the faces of the two players, then loosens and grows as it follows the freedom and energy of the music. Scribbles of pink, orange, and blue correspond to bursts of bright notes. Golio's language plays off the music: "I dare you, Birdman! Let it rip!" In the final images, the two musicians bump fists, then sling their arms around each other. Bebop, Golio explains in an afterword, was American music, and because Bird and Diz were black men, their "leadership in this new style of music brought them importance and respect at a time when there was widespread discrimination and racism." The book's language and images are every bit as vibrant as the music they celebrate. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Edward Necarsulmer IV, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner. (Feb.)

Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

The book's language and images are every bit as vibrant as the music they celebrate.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

The free verse is arranged to conjure speed and playfulness, and the imagery is amusing, i.e., Dizzy's puffy cheeks are compared to a frog's. ... The ever-experimental Young uses gouache and bursts of orange and pink pastel strokes to form Gillespie and his hot trumpet, whereas Parker's saxophone sounds are rendered in greens and blues. ... Irresistible.
—School Library Journal (starred review)

Exuberant and gorgeous—like the music.
—Kirkus Reviews

An impressionistic story of a "be-bop-a-skoodley" friendship comes together in the juxtaposition of a series of opposites—rendering and abstraction, saturation and resistance, darkness and light—reflecting the special partnership of two distinct musical legends.... The resulting combination of words and imagery introduces the unique players and captures the controlled, explosive frenzy of their musical collaboration.
—Horn Book

Bebop has never been so beautiful.
—BookPage

Like saxophonist Parker and trumpeter Gillespie, author Golio and illustrator Young are each acclaimed artists in their own right. By bringing together their individual forms and styles of artistic expression, however, they contribute equally to the creation of a product with its unique meaning and synergy.
—Literacy Daily

This could indeed be an inspiring impetus for an artistic enterprise, but it's also an informative introduction to two jazz greats.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Illustrations flow through the text, depicting the music with abstract images. Bright colors are used throughout and serve to give readers an idea of the sound qualities of bebop music.
—School library Connection
Gary Golio
Gary Golio is a fine artist and a clinical social worker/psychotherapist who works with children and teens, specializing in the area of addiction. This is his first book. He lives in Ossining, New York. To learn more, please visit www.garygolio.com. Javaka Steptoe is a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award-winner who has created several books for children. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. To learn more, please visit www.javaka.com.
Classification
Non-fiction
ISBN-13
9780763666606
Lexile Measure
N/A
Guided Reading Level
N/A
Publisher
Candlewick Press (MA)
Publication date
February 20, 2015
Series
-

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