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Jonah Winter
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4.06  ·  Rating details ·  298 ratings  ·  73 reviews
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 hottest band around. But did Dizzy stand straight and play right? NO! He was a clown. He hit high notes, low not ...more
Hardcover, 1 page
Published 2006 by Arthur A. Levine Books
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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Dizzy was a crazy dude. He cut up on stage a lot. He really did make a name for himself and he came up with a whole new style of jazz. He had a very hard childhood. He was bullied and abused. Music was really his way out of his home.

The artwork is amazing here. The art is moving and grooving and helps put the mood of bebop jazz forward. It’s great artwork. I learned something reading this book. I like that.

The nephew thought this guy was funny. He would shoot spit wads out of his horn during th

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
Sep 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My daughter, 6, chose this book from the library earlier today and it lead to a great evening. We read the book together and then I put on some music by Dizzy Gillespie and we watched him play, but we also had a conversation about the challenges he overcame. The value of books like this for children is that they setup these conversations and allow for cultural, historical, and social conversations across ages.

Further, the book uses art and structure creatively to mirror his creativity and his go
Nov 20, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Told in free verse reminiscent of Dizzy's style of music, I would think this would be fun to read (after a little bit of practice) to kids with his music playing in the background.
Darin Johnston
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: multicultural
If Duke Ellington was the Prince of Jazz, the Dizzy Gillespie is the Clown of Jazz! He had a hard life, being beaten by his father and other in the neighborhood. But when a music teacher shows him the trumpet, everything changes. He quickly realizes he has talent, moves to Philly and "started acting silly." He could hit notes others couldn't, creating beats and melodies others never thought of before. He was the Clown of Jazz, but he could play like no other.

Oct 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
By Jonah Winter Illustrated by Sean Qualls

Dizzy Gillespie is one of the greatest trumpet players of all time. This book is a great way to introduce children to the era of jazz called Bebop. Bebop is one of the most interesting styles of jazz because it has a fast tempo and complex chord progressions. Those characterizations, make audiences very excited when listening to bebop. That excited and fast paced scat-like quality is replicated so well in this book.
This book would be such an interes
Nov 09, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!"

Nov 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 520info
The book "Dizzy" walks through the life of Dizzy Gillespie, a well known trumpet player. It begins with Dizzy as a child, and shares how he was beat up by bullies and beat by his father. One day, Dizzy decided to fight back. He beat up bullies constantly. He was angry all of the time. Then one day his teacher gave him a trumpet. Dizzy began to play and play. He wasn't good at first, but he practiced each day. He got into jazz, and started finding jobs in a band playing music. His main goal was t ...more
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
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
Lynn  Davidson
This is the story of John Birks Gillespie, the famous horn player. He was born poor, was bullied by other boys, was mistreated by his own dad, and became a very angry person who learned to fight back. One day his teacher gave him a trumpet to play. He played it badly at first but it was a release for his inner rage, and eventually he became the best musician in his town. Dizzy didn't like to do things by the rules, so he did it his own way. That often got him into trouble, but he enjoyed the att ...more
S needed to read a biography for summer reading, so we randomly picked this one from the biography section. J read this to S but I overheard most of the story as it was being read. I thought to myself, "This is pretty dark for a kids' book." Sure enough, later on S seemed more focused on how "bad" Dizzy had behaved in the story than on his jazz skills. I can see the utility in the message here (channel your anger and frustration with your crappy situation into something like trumpet playing) but ...more
Cheriee Weichel
Dec 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sean Qualls' art provides the ideal backdrop for a text that begs to be read like slam poetry. It is all so stunning I had to go back and reread it numerous times.
Dizzy Gillespie did not have an easy beginning. He lived with an abusive father and was bullied by other children. When he discovered the trumpet, he blew all his anger and pain out into it. Eventually he created a new kind of jazz called bebop.
I appreciated the additional information at the back of the book that filled me in on addi
Maddy Roth
Nov 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Genre: Nonfiction (biography)
Grade Range: 2-5

This book is about famous trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. It details how he started playing the trumpet, became famous for his funny antics, and how he founded Bee-bop. This book is ab entertaining read as it uses onomatopoeia to make the horn sounds. I found this book to be informative about a famous musician you do not hear much about anymore.
Viviane Elbee
Interesting non-fiction book about a famous jazz musician, Dizzy. I thought it was well-written, in a lyrical jazz way. The illustrations matched the story style.

The kids both enjoyed the book. We learned a lot about Dizzy's life and the inspiration
behind his musical career.

This book is better suited to elementary students than to young toddlers.
Jul 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
The illustrations in DIZZY are beautiful and this is an interesting, important picture book biography of Dizzy Gillespie. It reminded me of TROMBONE SHORTY in both content in style, but DIZZY fell a little short for me. TROMBONE SHORTY was just a little more colorful, engaging, and had more heart. DIZZY is still worth reading and getting for your library, but I didn't absolutely love it.
Feb 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story was okay but I found the back author note about him more interesting than the actual story. More informational. The story seemed a little off because they talked about him being a bad kid and less about how he changed the Jazz.
Jo Oehrlein
The story of Dizzy Gillespie from boyhood to stardom.

Definitely doesn't cover the fact that Dizzy misbehaved from time to time. Nice to read about a famous person who isn't portrayed as "perfect."
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A story for a younger audience about the life of musician Dizzy Gillespie and the troubles he faced in growing up and finding solace in his music and playing the horn. Non fiction and not a quick read aloud to a group but good read for a child who loves playing the horn or music.
Laura Salas
I do not like jazz music. At all. But this biography of jazz great Dizzy Gillespie is so engaging. It combines fabulous, playful language with lots of facts plus insight into what made Dizzy so great. Excellent picture book biography!
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"He took all the anger he felt inside and blasted it out through the end of his horn. It was really loud."
For Dizzy, jazz was like breaking the rules and like inventing new rules. It was like getting in trouble - for fun.
Dizzy Gillespie, inventor of Bebop jazz.
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really effective depictions of the music - via both the text layout which evokes jazz rhythm, and the illustrations - with good extra information in the back. I can see reading this with a child before introducing them to jazz, especially bebop.
Oct 26, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jacob
Listened to the audio while looking at the book. Last week we went to the McCallum and listened to Dizzy Gillespie's music.
Sue Poduska
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How one of the best trumpet players got that way.
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
Musical text evokes the rhythms of jazz.
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dizzy is a book about the famous jazz trumpet player Dizzy Gillespie.
Margaret Boling
11/21/2018 ~ Another picture book biography that I'll be adding to my elementary school library.
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a true story about a famous musician playing his horn, he went by the name of dizzy. Dizzy was a tiny boy so would get picked on by other kid because of it, he hated being billed so he would actually fight a lot he didn't matter that he was small he stood his ground. Except for the abuse from his father, his father was mean and sometimes would be a bit to physically abusive towards Dizzy. When dizzy got older he moved Deep South, where he became apart of a band. He was later fired for be ...more
Ben Truong
Dizzy is a children's picture book written by Jonah Winter and illustrated by Sean Qualls. It is a biographical picture book of a jazz great – Dizzy Gillespie.

February, at least in my part of the world is Black History Month, which I plan to read one children's book, particularly a biography, which pertains to the subject everyday this month. Therefore, I thought that this book would be apropos for today.

John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie was an American jazz trumpeter, bandleader, composer, and singe
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Jonah Winter is the celebrated author of many picture book biographies, including Barack, which was a New York Times bestseller. His books include Here Comes the Garbage Barge, Sonia Sotomayor, Roberto Clemente, and more. A poet and a painter, Mr. Winter divides his time between Santa Fe and a small town in Pennsylvania.

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