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Charlie Parker Played Be Bop

4.12  ·  Rating Details  ·  480 Ratings  ·  99 Reviews
The beloved best-seller by award-winning illustrator Chris Raschka, author and illustrator of YO! YES?, is now in board book format for young children.

Ever hear of Charlie Parker? The great jazz saxophone player? If you have or if you haven't, it's okay. Look at this board book and you'll hear Charlie Parker; you'll hear music in your mind.
"Be bop. Fisk, fisk. Lollipop. Bo
Board Book, 14 pages
Published March 1st 2004 by Orchard (first published 1992)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 783)
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Oct 28, 2015 Eduardo rated it really liked it
Personal Response:
I think the book Charlie Parker Played Be Bop is pretty good because it is about a real artist that plays the saxophone. He can make a lot of sounds. It is written as a poem. I liked the pictures because they are made of music symbols. I read this book to my niece Vicky. She is on kindergarten. She was laughing about the book.

In the beginning, Charlie leaves his cat at home. In the picture, the cat looks very sad because he is left at home. Charlie leaves to play music. T
Jan 28, 2015 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
You have to really make this book your own in order for it to work. Sing the words, look up Youtube videos of teachers and librarians reading it aloud. Kids get into it if you do too! It's a great introduction to jazz and early rock and roll for grade school kids - it demonstrates the off-the-cuff style of be bop in an accessible way.
Feb 01, 2010 June rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents and young children
Shelves: programbook
I find myself returning to use this book every year for storytime. The playful rhythm and rhyme of the book make it a wonderful introduction to be bop. The illustrations are very whimsical with a overshoes and lollipops walking around and Charlie Parker playing upside down on one page. What a fun way to introduce a child to Charlie Parker! There is also a kit available that has the story performed by Richard Allen and includes "Night in Tunisia" which inspired Raschka to write the book.
Feb 27, 2015 Kee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: etec545class2
“Charlie Parker Played Be Bop” by Chris Raschka plays like a good jazz tune filled with melancholic jazz tune filled with scats and rhythm. It’s a written performance of Charlie Parker, the bird, playing his saxophone. How Chris Raschka lexically annotated a musical performance is pretty amazing.

Words like boppitty, bibbitty echos in the background as rather darker hue of the pictures do justice in representing the somber mood ambiance of jazz. Simple and rhythmic words do justice mimicking the
Saashya Rodrigo
Jun 23, 2012 Saashya Rodrigo rated it it was ok
I really couldn't connect with this book, and I LOVE jazz. I'm sure if it's read right, it'll be a great book. But I tried reading it several times and I just wasn't getting it. It made no sense to me.
Paul Farbman
Apr 26, 2014 Paul Farbman rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Kindergarten- First Grade
This book has a rhyming structure like this

"Charlie Parker played Be Bop.
Charlie Parker Played saxophone.
The music sounded like be bop.
never leave your cat alone." (Raschka)

This gives the text a musical quality and improvisational structure similar to that of jazz.

In addition to the random references to a cat, another seemingly strange reference is made to "barbecue that last leg bone" (Raschka). While these random references may confuse the reader at first, the teacher can explain how jazz musi
So much fun at both baby/toddler and preschool storytimes. Very playful and unique. I love how Raschka conveys the essence of music for the very youngest kids, in both words and pictures.
Sam Bloom
Jan 26, 2012 Sam Bloom rated it it was amazing
Absolutely phenomenal - the audiobook is a must-have, brilliantly read / performed by Richard Allen.
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
Aug 18, 2012 Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy) rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book, music, 2012
I need to find the audiobook for this book.
Cat Fithian
I have read, re-read and sung this book so many times I can sing it for you now, without the book in hand. It is brilliant, engaging, fun to share, quick, and educational. I love that it's about a real jazz legend. I love that it demonstrates what it talks about - is there a word for a book that is, in its format and structure, exactly what it's talking about, like onomatopoeia but as a whole book? If there were a word for that, it would be this book. Suitable for all ages, any venue (even a bar ...more
Apr 22, 2011 Kim rated it it was ok
Shelves: laptime
I've tried to do this one for storytime and didn't get the hang of the scat, but it has been recommended to me for laptime so I think I will try again. I have a lot more hope for it for laptime because babies will appreciate the sound and not be looking for meaning in the nonsensically language. Also, I'm going to have to pick up a copy with the CD because I think that will help loads.

Edit: *Sigh* I had hoped this book would make sense to me with the CD, it didn't. The CD goes through the book o
James Govednik
Aug 01, 2012 James Govednik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
I just discovered this book, and I wish I had known of it earlier! Loved it! I read along as I listened to the audio CD the author released in 2000 with jazz vocalist Richard Allen (Live Oak Media—a different ISBN for some reason, which was illegible on the library CD). The audio recording really helps to fully appreciate the book, unless you have a natural sense of be bop jazz and scat singing. This genre works best when background information is included, and since the edition I read had none, ...more
May 08, 2016 jo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books, music
There are a few books that I find myself buying over and over again. I always end up giving away my copy, or thinking of another person who *needs* to have it. Charlie Parker Played Be Bop is definitely in that category.

On the surface, Chris Raschka's illustrations are so full of color and whimsy that you want to linger on each page a moment, just to breathe it in. But beyond that, Charlie Parker Played Be Bop is one of those rare books that can actually make you feel what the author is describi
Emily H.
May 06, 2012 Emily H. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: roser_top-25
Book type: Picture storybook
Intended audience: three year olds to five year olds. Preschool.

The first time I read this book I was completely unimpressed. I saw this, but then I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since. I gave someone a pile of fifty biographies for children in the age range of 4-8 years old. Two weeks later, that person, too, asked me the name of this book. I never even knew that there was a picture book genre about music. I'm glad there is. I think it would be fun to
Brenda Kahn
When I shared Bird & Diz with one of my classes last week, I played Salt Peanuts! for them and it added another dimension to the read aloud. I remembered how while I loved Chris Raschka's Charlie Parker Played Be Bop, it wasn't until I heard the audio that I truly appreciated what Raschka did with the text. I dug it out of my personal archives, dusted it off and shared it with my students, who dug it.
This is a fantastic picture book that I believe could spark students curiosity in Jazz. Some books come with a cd that goes into more depth about Parker and Be Bop. I'd love to read this to students while playing Jazz music in the background. I also love the bright illustrations and lightheartedness of the text.
Traci Bold
May 09, 2016 Traci Bold rated it really liked it
A book for younger readers, 'CHARLIE PARKER PLAYED be bop' the catchy words will keep youngsters rolling while they say the words over and over.

Author/illustrator Chris Raschka captures the fun uniquely as only he can do with his unique style illustrations.

Published by Orchard Books.
Hector Gutierrez
Feb 21, 2016 Hector Gutierrez rated it it was ok
Shelves: biographies, cultural
Nice drawings, this book can get really fun with little ones, its honestly all based on the reader. I'm not good at reading and being animated with random noises so this book is not for me, there is no story its just about noises kinda like a song.
I liked the natural rhythm this book had. The book had a jazzy feeling just like the music Charlie Parker played, and it was obvious that this was intentional. I liked his book. I would use to to talk about Jazz Month or for African American History Month.
Interest Level
Grades PreK - 3
Reading Level
Grade level Equivalent: 1.7
Lexile Measure: AD140L
DRA: 20
Guided Reading: L
Autobiography and Biography
Composers and Musicians
African American
Sep 07, 2007 Eric rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this is probably one of my favorite all-time books to read to my children. it has been a favorite around our house for years, and to all of my children. the playful, nonsensical narrative echoes the phrasing, rhythm, and playfulness of charlie parker's music -- or any bebop for that matter. this book is a wonderful early tool for nurturing music appreciation, individuality, creativity, humor, and general silliness. the artwork beautifully complements the narrative, which, i meant to add, absolut ...more
Great paintings of Parker with music spiraling inside him, coming up and out of his saxaphone and filling the air; (Raschka is a master of perspective and foreshortening, catching Bird all all kinds of angles). At moments the conceptual nature of the book seems to come undone. However, the whimsical appearance of birds adopting all kinds of different poses and disguises and the brooding cat don't so much play out a storyline as give the feeling of Parker's playing - any attempt to turn this line ...more
Feb 04, 2016 Tara rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
Great book for visuals and making fun sounds, playing with words that sounds like musical sounds the story works great for younger kids who like to imitate sounds
Dec 12, 2015 Marcela rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids-books
Absolutely gorgeous. The sounds, the rhythm, the words... I read it imaging how a little kid would react. Definitely a book I'll read to my children.
Jul 17, 2014 Paige rated it really liked it
This is one of my favorite books of all time. My kids loved the rhythm of the book and it was the first book they memorized. We would love "reading" it together when they were little - me reading one page, and them reciting the memorized text of the next page.
A.C. Bauch
May 14, 2014 A.C. Bauch rated it really liked it
This one was a big hit with the little one. And that the cat looks like our cat (also known as "big sister kitten") was an added bonus.
Jul 29, 2015 Anna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Boys and I read this while studying onomatopoeia. It is simple book with jazz scat for text and lively illustrations.
This would be a great introduction to music education or a closer look at Charlie Parker specifically.
Garrett Ellis
A great book for story time! An awesome rhythmic book could be used for breaking words down as well!
Kyla Belvedere
Oct 22, 2014 Kyla Belvedere rated it really liked it
This is the first book my son memorize! He was such a tiny cutie able to repeat all the lines!
Jan 06, 2014 Crystal rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
How did I miss this FANTASTIC 1992 picture biography of Charlie Parker? How cool is the text to inspire both adults and the youngest of young? Yes, you can read this to babies and toddlers. They will dance to it! "Be bop. Fisk, fisk. Lollipop. Boomba, boomba. Bus stop. Zznnzznn. Boppitty, bibbitty, bop..." Thank you, my friend Margaret, for introducing me to this author. Never leave your cat alone.
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"I always try to treat the book itself as the artwork," Chris Raschka says. "I don't want you to stop while you're reading one of my books and say, 'Oh! What a gorgeous illustration!' I want you to stop at the end of the book and say, 'This is a good book.' "

Chris Raschka is one of those people who knew from an early age what he wanted to be when he grew up. "It was never a question in my mind,"
More about Chris Raschka...

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