Small Fry Saturday: John Coltrane’s Giant Steps

Small Fry Saturday is a meme inspired by The Well-Read Redhead, showcasing books our children enjoy.

This week’s pick is:

   Title: John Coltrane’s
Giant Steps
Chris Raschka
Narrator: Richard Allen
Publisher: Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books

July 1, 2002

I borrowed this book from my local library.

Find it on:

John Coltrane’s Giant Steps offered so much more than I expected in a children’s book! The CD included with the book is a must; this is really meant to be experienced as an entire package. The CD offers two tracks: one with page turn cues, one without.

The story’s “performers” are some raindrops on drums, a box playing string bass, a snowflake on piano, and an adorable kitten on tenor sax. (Get it? Raindrops? Snowflake? Kitten?) Narrator Richard Allen has a laid back, very chill style of reading – a perfect fit for such a cool piece of jazz. Allen also serves as “conductor” for our imaginary ensemble, helping them fix trouble spots and find a groove.

Chris Raschka’s lovely illustrations seem very simple, but become more and more complex as the story progresses. As new layers are introduced in the music, Raschka’s watercolors layer upon one another. I loved that; what a perfect way for listeners to visualize Coltrane’s distinct style of music!

This book is an artistic and musical literary adventure for young readers.

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