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3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  113 ratings  ·  34 reviews
From the author of FRIDA comes a jangly, jumpy, beboping book about Dizzy Gillespie, the clown prince of jazz.

This is the story of Dizzy Gillespie, a real cool cat who must have been born with a horn in his hands, judging from the way he played the trumpet. Jazz was his ticket on a train to better days, and he left his hard life in a small town for New York City and the ho
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published October 1st 2006 by Arthur A. Levine Books (first published January 1st 2006)
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Lamar Sanders
Main Characters: Dizzy
Point of View: 3rd person
Setting: Podunk southern town, Philly, New York City
Plot: This book covers the life of the great Jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie. It starts with his troubled childhood where he faced an abusive father and bullies and was forced to fight back. He was given a trumpet to serve as better outlet for his troubles, which he took to quite well. As his skills with the instrument increased he moved to Philly where he earned a reputation as a rabble-rouser. He p
Jonah Winter recreates a bebop sound with words in this energetic picture book biography of innovative jazz legend, Dizzy Gillepsie. Following the scrappy fighter turned musician (who used his music to release his anger and frustrations) from his roots in the deep South all the way to the bright lights of the city that never sleeps, Winter's text imitates the stylings of its subject as the poetic narrative rhymes, repeats, skips, dances and even breaks in an occasional scat or "bebop!"


The story of Dizzy Gillespie, father of bebop, and I wanted to love it! Dizzy's story is inspiring in that he came from an abusive situation in a small Southern town (his father beat him, and he also faced the oppression blacks in the South endured during his childhood in the early 1920s). At first, he struck out and got into fights with other kids. But, then a wise teacher gave him a trumpet and he began to play out his feelings. He fell in love with music, and felt drawn to jazz, even
A picture book biography about jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie.

I loved the way the artwork so perfectly conveyed the way Dizzy took the anger he felt and turned it into music, especially music that changed the world. I liked how the story emphasized how Dizzy marched to his own beat and that it served him well.

Acrylic, collage, and pencil illustrations support the artwork and are ripe with emotion.

An author's note is included following the story. Good read aloud for grades 2-4+.
This biography of Dizzy Gillespie does a good job of telling the story of his life. But I did not particularly enjoy the way in which the text was written. I guess it was supposed to be written like a poem or like jazz or something, but it didn't work for me. Dizzy also sounds like he was really obnoxious to work with - the author admits that Dizzy only did these shenanigans to get attention. (Shouldn't a member of a jazz band be more of a team player and not be trying to get all the attention f ...more
How did Dizzy Gillespie get his name? That question, and several others are answered in this look at the early life of one of jazz's greatest innovators.

I picked this book up because it was part of the Black History Month selections I chose to share with the students.

I finished the book because it is short enough to read in one period.

I would recommend this book to Dean. He may not know all the info. about Dizzy that this book explains.
James Govednik
For many people, Dizzy Gillespie is best known for his bent horn and puffy cheeks. This superb book gives us an entertaining, concise biographical sketch of the boy who grew to become one of the all time jazz greats. From difficult beginnings, Dizzy not only learns to play, but amazes everyone with his skill, as well as his talent for getting attention. Witty language and jazzy rhymes move things along, and the author also educates us on the bebop style of jazz that Gillespie helped create. The ...more
Emulating the trademark bebop his subject created, author Jonah Winter plays with language and sound in this picture book biography of Dizzy Gillespie. Some readers may be surprised to learn that the musician was picked on and bullied as a child. Once he started trading blows with his assailants, he became something of a bully himself, perhaps emulating the actions of his own abusive father. Eventually Dizzy channels his anger into music, and the book follows his trek from a small South Carolina ...more
Shannon K
Sep 24, 2009 Shannon K added it
Shelves: pbgs-1
This book is biography of Dizzy Gilleapie a legendary jazz trumpeter. I have never read a childrens book quite like this one, and I truly enjoyed it. It is loaded with vocabulary that children might not be familiar with. It also has some great themes that you could do a lot with in a classroom such as; temper and healthy ways to control it, musical interments, jazz, geography, difference between rule and urban. The illustrations though out the book blew me away. They were rich in color and inten ...more
Winter, Jonah. 2006. Dizzy. Illustrated by Sean Qualls. Scholastic.

Dizzy is the picture book biography of Dizzy Gillespie. Written by Jonah Winter and illustrated by the masterful Sean Qualls, it is an entertaining look at a life. Poetic in nature, the book gets to the heart of the man, and the heart of the jazz scene. This pretty much sums it up,

"If a melody was like a rule, jazz was like breaking the rules, like inventing new rules. Jazz was getting in trouble--it was fun."


"For the boy with
The life of legendary jazz trumpeter John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie is brilliantly depicted in this picture book. Illustrator Sean Qualls’ bold swathes of red and blue juxtaposed against geometric lines of black and gray paint a lively visual picture of the rhythm of bebop. The poetic prose has such a lively spirit that it is almost as if the narrator is a jazz musician accompanying himself on the piano as he “skats” his way through the story. This title should be a first-purchase on every element ...more
Rebecca Cimino
Dizzy Gillespie was a famous trumpet player, and the inventor of bebop. But he wasn’t always the celebrated musician he eventually became. Dizzy started out as an angry young boy, small, always picked on, and getting into fights. One day, Dizzy picked up a trumpet, and all that changed. He channeled the energy he used fighting into becoming a great horn player. And even if his antics and strange music weren’t always popular, he eventually created the signature jazz music that gained him respect ...more
Nov 20, 2012 Laura added it
Shelves: kid-s-books, ece-3601
great book to talk about jazz in a 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade class. this is a story about the life of jazz artist john birks "dizzy" Gillespie and how he came to be such an amazing jazz artist. the story is told in a beautifully poetic way that practically sounds like jazz itself, with different colors and sizes of font to emphasize certain things. this story could also help inspire a child to express themselves artistically, especially if they are having behavior problems or if they are having any ...more
Jan 10, 2009 Kate rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kate by: Read for Children's Literature portfolio
Shelves: 2007, age-childrens
Free form poetry describes the life of jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie, from the time he was child to his first discovery of the trumpet to his rise to fame and creation of the “bebop” style of jazz, emphasizing his desire to break the rules and be the center of attention through practical jokes. The illustrations evoke the era of the 1930s and 40s jazz scene, and sometimes the font seems to dance right off the page. The author’s note gives a brief factual biography of Dizzy Gillespie.
Solid picture book biography on Dizzy Gillespie. Not sure I'll remember much about it in a day or 2 but I enjoyed reading it. The attempt at a jazzy free verse didn't quite connect with me though. I'd love to hear the author read it aloud since he clearly had a particular rhythm and cadence in his head when he wrote it.
This book might have been better with the picture book rather than a book on CD, but I just didn't enjoy it much. It was, however, interesting to learn about the beginnings of one type of jazz music and the brave boy who "broke all the rules." I think I was hoping that the CD would include some trumpet music!
A beautifully written biography with a peotic flair. This is a picture book for older readers ten and up to enjoy. It starts with Dizzy as a child and tells how the trumpet became his escape from a troubled childhood. He pages becomes an adult playing his own style of music.
Natasha Osborne
I really wanted to love this book but couldn't because of a few uncomfortable parts. I could've done without the abusive father and Dizzy turning to violence in a picture book. Other than that the scatting was great.
Loved this biography about John "Dizzy" Gillespie. I knew nothing about the father of Bebop before this book. The text and illustrations were an intriguing arrangement that helped to build the mood of the times.
Legendary trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie stays true to his “crazy” musical ideas,
and invents the jazz style Bebop.

Biograhical. Some interesting bits in here for kids about his temper, and what he did with it.
Wonderful short stint into the background of Dizzy Gillespsie. One of the few promeinent jazz musicians who stayed married to the same woman all his life and didn't use drugs. Well narrator by Kevin Free.
Another Jonah Winter book. This time the illustrations are by Sean Qualls. Mr. Winter does a good job of dealing with some tough subjects again - fighting in the hood and abusive parents.
Larry Carter
I liked this book not just for students but teachers. Some students have problems at home that they bring to school. Never write off a student always uplift them. Help them find their way.
Aug 25, 2007 Suzanne rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Older children
Picture book biography of Dizzy Gillespie. Stunning illustrations convey Dizzy's emotions and his passion for jazz. Was my pic to win the Caldecott. Better suited for older readers.
the art was a turn off, but most of the writing was very good. the parts where it falls out of most are what prevent it from being a good read aloud.
Interesting bio of Dizzy Gillespie, creator of bebop. I am not a fan of the illustrations but learned a good deal about Dizzy.
I got to hear the author read the book and I will tell you it was fabulous...I however can not do the book justice.
Feb 02, 2013 Jen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: pb
interesting pictures. prose has a real jazzy cool cat style to it. tells his start and success.
I feel that many books have a good story. This one was good and enjoyed it for the most.
Norman A. Sugarman Children’s Biography Honor Awards selected for 2008.
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