Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald” as Want to Read:
Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald (Candlewick Biographies)

by
3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  144 Ratings  ·  43 Reviews
A swinging bio of young Ella Fitzgerald, who pushed through the toughest of times to become one of America’s most beloved jazz singers.

When Ella Fitzgerald danced the Lindy Hop on the streets of 1930s Yonkers, passersby said good-bye to their loose change. But for a girl who was orphaned and hungry, with raggedy clothes and often no place to spend the night, small change w
...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published August 24th 2010 by Candlewick Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat

The Boy Who Loved Math by Deborah HeiligmanOn a Beam of Light by Jennifer  BerneA Splash of Red by Jennifer Fisher BryantLocomotive by Brian FlocaWho Says Women Can't Be Doctors? by Tanya Lee Stone
Childrens NonFiction 2013
27th out of 119 books — 40 voters
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzgeraldRebecca by Daphne du MaurierCary Grant by Marc EliotCagney by Cagney by James CagneyTrue Hollywood Noir by Dina Di Mambro
Classic Film Books
262nd out of 293 books — 67 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 411)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
James Govednik
Dec 28, 2010 James Govednik rated it really liked it
Shelves: music
Excellent account of the rise to stardom of one our greatest singers. We meet young Ella Fitzgerald when she’s singing and dancing at home and follow her through years of hardship. The book reaches a climax when Ella lands her first big job with Chick Webb’s band and she records her first hit record at age 21 (“A Tisket, A Tasket”). Song lyrics are nicely woven into the narrative, and the illustrations are wonderful. The contrast between her joyful singing and the harsh realities of her teen yea ...more
Sweet on Books
Feb 15, 2011 Sweet on Books rated it really liked it
• This is a wonderful and comprehensive book on the late, great Ella Fitzgerald.
• During the depression, this young woman, against all odds, survived and flourished because of hard work, amazing
talent and spirit.
• While it's a picture book, it has quite a lot of text, so it is best used with an older audience.
• This will make a great addition to a "Great Americans" shelf or "Amazing Women in History" shelf in your library,
Black History month or not.

Sweet Book Summary:
Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat:
...more
KerriRowland
Apr 20, 2014 KerriRowland rated it really liked it
Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat is a musical bio of the very talented Ella Fitzgerald. The bio shows a girl with big dreams, but with small pockets. It gives the reader the detailed version of how this musical sensation had no money, no place to rest her head, but a determination like no other. It’s shows how her fast feet and powerful voice lead her on a magical journey during very hard times. Illustrations are colorful and eye catching, but not a distraction to the comprehension of the text. It’s a grea ...more
Karen
Jul 19, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: jacob, ellie, mom, dad
Listened to Ella Fitzgerald on you tube after we read the book. She has a beautiful voice.
Dolly
Feb 07, 2011 Dolly rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a fascinating look at Ella Fitzgerald's early years and her beginnings in music. I did not know her story and we all learned a bit about this amazing singer. The illustrations complement the story nicely and although I'm not that good of a singer, I tried my best to sing the little bits of songs included in the narrative. We really enjoyed reading this story together. Later, I pulled up some videos on Ella Fitzgerald on YouTube so our girls could see them, since they aren't very familiar ...more
Abby Johnson
Dec 22, 2014 Abby Johnson rated it really liked it
The words of this biography move like music, telling the story of Ella's teen years. She grew up poor and after her mother died and she got into some trouble with the law, Ella escaped an abusive girls' home and lived on the streets before making her singing debut at the Apollo Theater when she was 17. The text begs to be read aloud and this is a good picture book to share with older readers.

More on the blog: http://www.abbythelibrarian.com/2010/...
Elizabeth
"Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald" is a children's biography that is suited for grades 2-4, in my opinion. This book does a wonderful job of showing the true side of Ella Fitzgerald's tough childhood which included the death of her mother, being extremely poor, and not having an actual place to live, eat, or sleep. The book shows readers her struggles but somehow manages to keep a positive upbeat feeling while doing so. This is an extremely wonderful book to read to children, but the langu ...more
Melanie
Mar 15, 2015 Melanie rated it really liked it
Orgill, R. & Qualls, S., 2010. Skit-skat raggedy cat Ella Fitzgerald. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press.

Jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald’s path to stardom was not without bumps and detours. Her mother died when she was just fourteen years old, causing Ella to realize the challenges of growing up without her mother and without the encouragement and knowledge about how to put her singing and dancing talents to use. This colorfully illustrated biography with its creative use of fonts grabs the reader
...more
Mark
May 22, 2016 Mark rated it really liked it
The author of accomplished biographies about Mahalia Jackson, Fred and Adele Astaire and others contributes a gem about Fitzgerald’s early life in Yonkers and Harlem. The lively writing sings and swings along with Ella, who entertained schoolmates and danced for coins with her friend Charlie. Her mother’s untimely death engendered many bad turns: Petty crime earned Ella time in a cruelly operated orphanage upstate. Orgill clearly shows that Fitzgerald’s career and success were built on the winni ...more
Cat Fithian
Ella, dear, dear Ella, what a horrible childhood you had. What a brilliant talent you had. What a good book this is. Not suitable for reading aloud for groups younger than about grade 2, but pairing with Charlie Parker Played Be Bop, Be Boy Buzz, and Trombone Shorty would make for an engaging unit. I would probably stretch some preschoolers and use some of the illustrations in a storytime, too, if I were still doing them.
Trey Veazey
I didn't like when the author said that Ella wasn't pretty because that just isn't true nor is it her place to say. I understand the point that she was trying to make, but she failed in her attempt to do so.
Terri
Oct 16, 2014 Terri rated it liked it
Shelves: biography, child-lit, spl
This is another biography for kids. I wanted to like it a little more than I did. The subject matter is undeniably interesting, but the book itself is just okay.
John
3.5 stars. I downloaded a few of Ella's songs before I read Skit-Scat. It made reading it more emotional and enjoyable.
Beth
Jun 02, 2011 Beth rated it liked it
I thought the book was interesting and inspiring but I think the story is more interesting to adults than kids.
Elizabeth
Wow! This book really brought Ella Fitzgerald to life. It was a slow build, and it was rather long, but well worth the read.

Instead of focusing on Ella’s successful career or the entirety of her life, Skit-Scat looks at her teenage years. She grew up in Yonkers and loved to dance. She and her friend Charlie would dance on the street corner where they earned a few cents. At 14 her mother died suddenly and this began a spiral downwards for Ella. She lived with an “unkind” step father (the book doe
...more
Mary
Jul 19, 2011 Mary rated it liked it
This is a colorful picture book that depicts the youth of Ella Fitzgerald in the early 1930s. Ella grew up poor but always had music and dance in her life. I love the description Orgill writes, “Ella was a rough-tough raggedy cat on the outside, but inside she was milky and silky and soft and shy.” Her mother Tempie died when she was 14; she was sent to live with her aunt and cousins in Harlem. She was mistreated and eventually ran away. Random people were impressed with her skills, and they too ...more
Julie Lamb
Oct 20, 2013 Julie Lamb rated it it was amazing
Book Title: Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald by Roxane Orgill

Short Description of the Book: In this book, the readers get a sense of singer Ella Fitzgerald as she struggles in her younger years all the way until a discovery is made about how talented this woman was. A star was born.

FOCUS: Informational Features I would use in a Mini-Lesson:

1) When we cover our Harlem Renaissance unit in English III Honors / Advanced Placement English III, this book would be a great tool for the group wit
...more
Sarah
Apr 26, 2011 Sarah rated it liked it
This is a hard one for me to interpret my feelings on. I learned a few things about Ella that I hadn't known before and I appreciated the rhythmic pacing of the story. However, all in all, this book doesn't provide you with all that much information on Ella's life and focuses on only a small part of her story. Instead, the focus is more on the music she felt in her soul and that's highlighted through the lyrics that are abundant throughout the book. I would have liked more biographical informati ...more
Karyn
Jul 07, 2016 Karyn rated it really liked it
Shelves: music, biography, jazz
Kindergarteners might be too young for some of the rougher details of her life. Very well told though. I had to look her up and listen to her voice.
Amanda
Dec 09, 2014 Amanda rated it really liked it
A well-done biography for elementary readers on Ella Fitzgerald, focusing on her rise from an impoverished and then homeless young person.
Shannon
Sep 17, 2010 Shannon rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
I was disappointed I didn't receive this in the FirstReads giveaway, but I checked it out of the library instead. This is an excellent picture book for intermediate students and older -- I love Ella Fitzgerald's music, but I didn't realize everything she had to overcome to "make it."

I'm also pleased with the resources and links available in the back of the book. I find that these links are often the deciding factor in whether I have a memorable lesson or just a good one -- the extra resources fo
...more
Heather
May 20, 2013 Heather rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
A quite comprehensive review of Ella Fitzgerald's life. It teaches a useful lesson in perseverance, but I think the author could have made her telling of Ella's struggles more appropriate for the target age group (5-8 years). I understand that Ella's life--particularly her youth--was difficult, but some of the material included is frightening to small children (e.g., children were locked in chains and only given bread to eat at the orphanage where Ella lived for some time). A useful biography th ...more
Jessica Jones
Oct 31, 2013 Jessica Jones rated it really liked it
Illustrator- Sean Qualls
Word Count: 2,818
Reading Level: 4.7
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.7 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 138407 (08/05/10) / grade: Middle Grades

This book is about Ella Fitzgerald's rise to fame and fortune. Ella had to deal with her mother dying at a young age, being left with a guardian who didn't treat her well, and poverty. She eventually ended up in an orphanage but managed to escape and work hard til she ended up at the Apollo theater. This book can be use
...more
Becki Iverson
May 29, 2015 Becki Iverson rated it it was amazing
I didn't realize how little I knew about Ella Fitzgerald's life until I read this book. It's highly detailed but still accessible for kids of many ages, and the simple drawings are really lovely. I love stories for kids that focus on building on yourself, learning, growing from your circumstances, encouraging independence, etc., and this book has it all, with some history tied in to-boot. It's really awesome - highly recommend!
Kendra
May 22, 2015 Kendra rated it really liked it
LOTS of text for a younger child. Ella's story is inspiring and makes me want to listen to jazz.
Laura
Feb 19, 2012 Laura rated it really liked it
A beautifully illustrated biography of Ella Fitzgerald. The text is descriptive, incorporating Ella's style of singing, and captures Ella's tough teen years. Ella overcame losing her mother at a young age, poverty, adversity and discrimination to make it as a singer. This would be a wonderful read aloud of middle school students learning about the life in the 1930s. It explores so many themes that students touch on as part of their social studies curriculum while giving a face to a specific stor ...more
Raquel
Aug 04, 2010 Raquel rated it it was amazing
What a superb book! I very much enjoyed Roxane Orgill's picture book about Fred & Adele Astaire so I'm not surprised that this book about the early years of Ella Fitzgerald's life was just as good. Fitzgerald had a rough start but went off to become a jazz great. The crux of the story is Ella's determination to sing and dance even in the face of life's cruel obstacles (her mother's death, her mean step-father, her raggedy clothes & appearance, her homelessness and poverty). I highly reco ...more
Barbara
Who doesn't love Ella Fitzgerald! Although I guess nowadays the kids who this book is trying to attract have no idea who she is. I think the author paints an interesting picture of a girl who had a hard life but was able to overcome and make it big. I wish there was more about Ella at the end in a historical note, which is happening a lot with children's picture book biographies, but there is a good list of books, cds, video, and web resources.
Mary Ann
I read this as a Candlewick Biography, a small-size reprint in 2013 of the 2010 picture book. I found the combination of text and illustrations very effective for understanding the hardships Ella Fitzgerald overcame. Children will like the small trim size but I'm concerned the font size ends up too small. I'll need to see how children react to it.
Deb
Mar 16, 2013 Deb rated it liked it
I love Ella Fitzgerald so this was an interesting read about her tough years before stardom. Possibly not nearly as interesting for a young reader who would benefit more from an introductory overview of her life. Easier to connect to someone's hardship when you know them a little. The Bibliography is useful.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 13 14 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Henry Aaron's Dream
  • Before John Was a Jazz Giant: A Song of John Coltrane
  • Piano Starts Here: The Young Art Tatum
  • Jimi: Sounds Like a Rainbow: a Story of the Young Jimi Hendrix
  • Trombone Shorty
  • Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People
  • The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra: The Sound of Joy is Enlightening
  • Mister and Lady Day: Billie Holiday and the Dog Who Loved Her
  • Dizzy
  • Mrs. Harkness and the Panda
  • The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever
  • Here Come the Girl Scouts!: The Amazing All-True Story of  Juliette 'Daisy' Gordon Low and Her Great Adventure
  • Night Flight: Amelia Earhart Crosses the Atlantic
  • Jazz ABZ: An A to Z Collection of Jazz Portraits
  • Jazz on a Saturday Night
  • Miss Moore Thought Otherwise: How Anne Carroll Moore Created Libraries for Children
  • Jump Back, Paul: The Life and Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar
  • Elizabeth Leads the Way: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Right to Vote
110205
Roxane Orgill is an award-winning writer on music and the author of several biographies for young readers, including MAHALIA: A LIFE IN GOSPEL MUSIC AND FOOTWORK: THE STORY OF FRED AND ADELE ASTAIRE. She is also the author of DREAM LUCKY, a book for adults about big-band jazz, race, and politics in the 1930s. She lives in New York City.
More about Roxane Orgill...

Other Books in the Series

Candlewick Biographies (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • Vision of Beauty: The Story of Sarah Breedlove Walker
  • Handel, Who Knew What He Liked
  • A Voice of Her Own: The Story of Phillis Wheatley, Slave Poet
  • One Beetle Too Many: The Extraordinary Adventures of Charles Darwin
  • John Muir: America's First Environmentalist
  • Footwork: The Story of Fred and Adele Astaire
  • Lady Liberty: A Biography
  • The Secret World of Walter Anderson
  • There Goes Ted Williams: The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived
  • Henry Aaron's Dream

Share This Book