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Rhythm Ride: A Road Trip Through the Motown Sound

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  333 Ratings  ·  80 Reviews
From award-winning author Andrea Davis Pinkney comes the story of the music that defined a generation and a movement that changed the world.

Berry Gordy began Motown in 1959 with an $800 loan from his family. He converted the garage of a residential house into a studio and recruited teenagers from the neighborhood-like Smokey Robinson, Mary Wells, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published September 29th 2015 by Roaring Brook Press
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Kris - My Novelesque Life
Jan 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
RHYTHM RIDE: A Road Trip Through Motown Sound
Written by Andrea Davis Pinkney
2015; 176 Pages (Roaring Books Press)
(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY)
Rating: 4 Stars

(Review Not on Blog)

"Berry Gordy began Motown in 1959 with an $800 loan from his family. He converted the garage of a residential house into a studio and recruited teenagers from the neighborhood-like Smokey Robinson, Mary Wells, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and Diana Ross-to sing for his new label. Meanwhile, the country was on the
Monica Edinger
Nov 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Loved the Groove, loved the ride, loved the clear and focused writing, loved the respectful way the Groove recognized that today's young readers might need context here and there, loved that it is about Motown and NOT its influence on other music (something one reviewer complained about)...basically just loved it.
Ettore Pasquini
Jul 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: musica
I really liked that this quick history of Motown begins by describing the founder, Berry Gordy. He started out as a boxing fighter (!) and most importantly as a humble worker at Ford, where he learned how the assembly line works. He then implemented the assembly line idea into Motown. Motown worked with a group of song writers, a core of "backup" musicians, and finally the stars / lead singers. Everyone was interchangeable, allowing Motown to steadily put out a ton of (great) music.

Quality was t
Richie Partington
Nov 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Richie’s Picks: RHYTHM RIDE: A ROAD TRIP THROUGH THE MOTOWN SOUND by Andrea Davis Pinkney, Roaring Brook, September 2015, 176p., ISBN: 978-1-59643-973-3

“Smiles have all turned to tears
But tears won’t wash away the fears
That you’re never ever gonna return
To ease the fire that within me burns
It keeps me crying baby for you
Keeps me sighin’ baby for you
So won’t you hurry
Come on boy, see about me”
--Holland-Dozier-Holland (1964)

“R&B was a soulful sound that put its arms around listeners and rocked
Really fascinating look at the behind-the-scenes of Motown--its rise, fall, and the eventual sale of the company. I was familiar with almost all the artists and most of the songs (thanks, Mom), but had no idea about the backstories for many of the artists--Marvin Gaye had to fight Berry Gordy to get "What's Goin' On" (song and album) released; Martha Reeves was a Motown secretary before getting her big break when Mary Wells missed her studio appointment; Stevie Wonder's name is Steveland Morris; ...more
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed and savored, Andrea Davis Pinkney's Rhythm Ride: A Road Trip Through the Motown Sound What a pleasurable journey down Memory Lane this book provided for me! I remember listening to all that wonderful music on WHBC am radio during my childhood. Dancing along with the Jackson 5 and so many other talented Motown artists, whenever they appeared on TV. This book provided such a fun and accessible introduction to Motown for my daughter. We loved looking at the photos - the clothin ...more
Mary Louise
The attractive book cover caught my eye as I was browsing the children's book display and I had to check it out and find out about Motown.

I was a Hispanic teenager during the 1960s and had no idea how hard Barry Gordon worked to make his dream come true, but I knew I liked Motown music and so did the other teenagers, from various cultures, I knew.

What fun it was to turn up the radio dial once again and to relive those by-gone days, with the bonus of background information this time around to c
Jan 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very enjoyable! This unique biography/musical history tells the popular story of the rise of Motown while also capturing the social tensions of the time. Like the music of Motown, the story of the label, the artists, and its creator - Berry Gordy - is very compelling and enjoyable. It's a story that's interested people for years, but Pinkney's telling is something a little different. She writes the journey of music or "the groove" through the decades from the first person perspective of the groo ...more
Jul 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I can't wait to hear Andrea Davis Pinkney speak to the kids at my school this fall! The book brought me through memory lane, as I remembered the many songs that were such major parts of my life. The tone and story telling of the book were great. I loved how she was able to weave the history of the times with the stories of the music and the stories of the many members of Motown. Great fun to read.....although, my heart is also breaking that we still have so far to go with our Race relations. I c ...more
Jan 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Definitely made me want to listen to a lot of Motown music. I read this at the same time as The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory, and it was interesting to compare Motown as a "factory" to the modern hit factory, and the amount of control exerted over the music. Obviously as a children's book this didn't go too deeply into the darker side of that control - it presented Berry Gordy's control over Motown artists' work and lives in a pretty positive light.
I read Rhythm Ride while my husband was reading Once in a Great City by David Maraniss. Both books covered Berry Gordy and the unique factors that made Detroit ground zero for hit after hit after hit throughout the 60's and 70's. But Andrea's book reads like your cool auntie telling you a story, and Bob didn't finish the Maraniss book. So there.

All my picks for best books to give this holiday are at
Molly Dettmann
Mar 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
1. Snazzy cover
2. Interesting and thorough history of Motown Records and Berry Gordy
3. I could hear all the music mentioned in my mind as I was reading this. It made for a very fun read! For kids who might not listen to their local oldies station, it might be cool to have them listen to some songs on YouTube at least, before and after reading this book. I can see this being kind of boring if you'd never heard any of the music before.
Dec 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. The writing was fun and clearly structured for young readers who may not know anything about this subject. Wonderful design and photographs! The only thing I wished for was a sound track, although there certainly was one running through my head ;-)
Great information, unfortunately presented in a condescending/folksy voice that quickly grows tiresome and irritating.
Jo Oehrlein
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: music
Late elementary or middle school book about Berry Gordy and Motown records. It's picture book format, but too thick to really be a picture book.

Great to go with a study of the 1960s or Civil Rights. Would also pair well with a trip to see the musical Motown.

Illustrated with photos and the captions to the photos provide information, also. Love the page numbers styled as records.

Told directly to the reader, breaking the 4th wall about once per chapter.

It doesn't gloss over the problems, but does m
Great nonfiction book for teens who want to learn how Motown started.
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
A children's book written for adults about motown.
Dec 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Intriguing and informative look at Motown's history.
I love this book as a whole package. It’s square like a vinyl record and the cover looks like an old album cover with the font and lines. The woman on the cover is made with words that pertain to Motown and Hitsville and it looks really neat. I also love the color palette. Inside the page numbers are written on little records and the chapter titles use that same clean font you see on the front.

As far as the actual text, I’m lukewarm. It was incredibly fascinating the history and story presented
Channeling the voice of the hippest of the hip, the coolest of the cool, one of those late night DJs who seem to be speaking only to you and you alone, Andrea Davis Pinkney takes readers on a wild ride through the history of Motown. Her narrator is, appropriately, the Groove, and the Groove addresses the reader directly while weaving the story of how Berry Gordy borrowed money ($800) from his family to start a studio in Detroit. He was charming and had a good eye for talent, and knew just how to ...more
Nicola Mansfield
Oct 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Astounding! I had no idea this was the book it turned out to be. Expecting a juvenile history of the Motown years I was floored with the in-depth narrative of the history of not only Motown music but the whole Motown scene, a biography of Barry Goldie himself and even more interesting a discourse of US African-American history from the 50s to 80s through the voice of their music. An extremely interesting book with tons of history I knew nothing about. I knew all the songs, but everything else wa ...more
Oct 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
I grew up worshiping the Motown sound and every month I walked to the newsstand to buy Right On magazine to read (and obsess) about the comings and goings of the Jackson Five, Diana Ross and other Motown stars. Rhythm Ride, written for middle school and older children, is a fast-paced, fun and lyrical trip through the history of Motown. We learn about the talented, and driven African-Americans who made the Sound of Young America omnipresent while also learning about the history of the the Civil ...more
Jun 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Readers ride along on a magical musical tour of Motown, from its humble beginnings in 1959 to the sale of the music side of the business nearly thirty years later. Pinkney uses a road trip theme, narrated by a folksy “the Grove,” to present musical, social, and cultural history in a text that is informative and fun to read. Gordy Berry is the heart and soul of Motown. Far from a stellar student, Berry believed in his capabilities and became a successful songwriter. Frustrated by the meager amoun ...more
This is a really enjoyable history of Motown. At first, I was a little skeptical that the book was narrated by "The Groove" and was worried it was going to be gimmicky, but once I got into the flow of the story, I really enjoyed the narrative style and thought it worked well. If you love Motown music (and if you don't, what's wrong with you?), you will enjoy this history. It tracks not just Motown, but the racism that the artists at Motown faced, and how they fought back against it. It shows how ...more
RHYTHM RIDE: A ROAD TRIP THROUGH THE MOTOWN SOUND by Andrea Davis Pinkney chronicles the rise of Motown music in Detroit.

Pinkney’s smooth narrative will draw readers into the world of Berry Gordy and the rise of Motown Records. Featuring well-known artists from Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder to the Jackson Five, Pinkney connects key political and cultural movements including the Civil Rights Movement to the evolving Motown sound. In addition to the well-known artists, Pinkney also weaves in f
Jenny Staller
Feb 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
I so badly wish that more kids and teens would give non-fiction a fair shot. I think non-fiction has a stigma of being "basically school" and "boring", which is such a shame, especially when great, engaging books like Pinkney's Rhythym Ride come along.

I have to admit that I had very limited knowledge about Motown before reading this, so this book was delightfully fresh and new to me. I learned a lot from reading this book about how and why Motown was built, the cultural context from which it sp
This look back at the history of Motown, its founder, the stars and songs that came out of Hitsville U.S.A in Detroit, MI is told through the frame of time-traveling road trip as voiced by a cool-cat type known only as the Groove.

Numerous pictures are included throughout text and the voice of the Groove even extends to the way the captions read.

The author does a great job of setting the scene and making readers care about the topic. I liked the way topics like the Detroit Riots were woven into
Nov 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: mock-newbery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"You Ready, Child? Let's Go."

"I've got my pulse on all the roads. And side streets. And avenues. And alleyways."

"You see, I steer the beat. That's why they call me the Groove."

With those introductory words, the tone was set for the rest of the book. The voice that these words invoked in my head is the one that took me on the journey through Motown. Along the way I met Berry Gordy, Jr. - the man with the vision that started it all. I also met his stars...Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Mary W
Amy Formanski Duffy
Oct 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Fun informational book for ages 8-12 about the history of Motown. Draws you in with stories of famous singers and songs that everyone knows from the Supremes, Temptations, Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, the Jackson Five and more. Then blends in civil rights history, background information about Detroit and how music bridged the racial divide in America in the 60s. Extensive timeline, discography, source notes and bibliography included.

Great quote about Motown founder Berry Gordy:

"Berry believed that
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Andrea Davis Pinkney is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 20 books for children, including the Caldecott Honor Book and Coretta Scott King Honor Book Duke Ellington, illustrated by Brian Pinkney; Let it Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters, a Coretta Scott King Honor Book and winner of the Carter G. Woodson Award; and Alvin Ailey, a Parenting Publication Gold medal winne ...more

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