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Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald

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3.92  ·  Rating details ·  227 ratings  ·  58 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
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Hardcover, Candlewick Biographies, 48 pages
Published August 24th 2010 by Candlewick Press
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  227 ratings  ·  58 reviews


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QNPoohBear
This book presents historical facts told in story form. It emphasizes how poor Ella's family was and how rough her childhood and young adulthood years were. The author uses a little bit of period slang but not too much to be overpowering and confusing. The colorful illustrations resembled paintings of the Art Deco era. The book also includes a bibliography, viewing list, on the web list
Gina
Mar 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Creates some sense of time and place, and persistence and optimism, things that Ella really needed.
Sweet on Books
Feb 15, 2011 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:
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James Govednik
Dec 28, 2010 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 ...more
KerriRowland
Apr 17, 2014 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 ...more
Dolly
Feb 07, 2011 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
Nov 11, 2010 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/...
Cara Byrne
Sep 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
"Ella was raggedy and poor, but she was tough. All she needed was someone to notice her and give her a chance." I'm a sucker for anything illustrated by the mega-talented Sean Qualls, and this smart, interesting biography of Ella Fitzgerald is no exception. In focusing more on her life as a young adult seeking fame, the story has a great amount of depth.
Karen
Jul 19, 2015 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.
Terri
Oct 16, 2014 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.
Beth
I thought the book was interesting and inspiring but I think the story is more interesting to adults than kids.
Jana
This picture book biography tells the fascinating and inspirational story of Ella Fitzgerald. She grew up at a time when most people had little money, but she was able to dance on the street for spare change. After her mother died, things really went downhill for Ella. With an engaging, narrative text and colorful illustrations done in acrylic, pencil, and collage, this story of how she got her act together through hard work and determination to become a star. It would be fun to listen to some ...more
JoAnne
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
Mixed feelings on this book - I was excited to find a book about Ella Fitzgerald’s life; I am a fan of her music and I have shared that music with my daughters, and I was excited to read about her life with them too. I feel that the book did a good job explaining the very poor circumstances that Ella was raised in, BUT I don’t feel that this book was written for young readers. It was too wordy and it used slang and jargon from that time period without explaining what it meant. It used 10 words ...more
JoAnna
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Three-line review: I don't know much about Ms. Fitzgerald, and this books seems to hit the highlights of her life when she was coming of age as a performer. Injecting "sound" into the writing didn't do much for me (see "skit-scat raggedy cat"), and the illustrations felt a bit flat as well. Regardless, it was a well-told story for a young audience about a legendary figure.
Stephanie
This genre is based on non-fiction. I really liked this book in terms of historical significance. I think it may have been somewhat advanced for my group of 1st graders. I think it shows great use of dialogue in the book as well.
Lynn  Davidson
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing story about an amazing woman, singer Ella Fitzgerald. This excellent biography of Ms. Fitzgerald covers from her poorest childhood days to the height of her fame and success. Nicely illustrated.
Kristine
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Story and illustrations are rich. I didn't know about Ella Fitzgerald's childhood until now. Makes her even more remarkable. My 94 yr old mother enjoyed this book, too. I am so grateful that more and more children's and juvenile books are being written about women and their achievements.
Raven
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book goes into detail about Ella Fitzgerald life. You see the ups and downs that she went through from losing her mom at such a young age to finally getting a chance to sing live. I do think this book is for older kids or even adults, because of how detailed and lengthy the story is.
Melissa Mcavoy
Fabulous illustrations by Sean Qualls. Inspiring story of the determination and talent of Ella Fitzgerald. An afterword would have been welcome, but what is here about her young life is good. Multi-platform bibliography is included.
Robin
Jul 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Has a storybook, narrative style. I don’t think is would be very useful for a student writing a biography report since there weren’t many facts about her life. It was interesting to learn what she had overcome in her early life. It bothered me that there was no real life picture of her.
Julie Lamb
Oct 13, 2013 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
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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 ...more
Karen
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: srps-books
Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat: Ella Fitzgerald tells the story of her life from childhood to the beginning of her remarkable career.

Roxane Orgill's love of music is evident in her lyrical prose, as she shows us the life of one of music's greatest performers who grew up dancing for change on the streets of Yonkers showing off steps she learned by taking the train up to Harlem to watch the dancers in the Cotton Club.

Sean Qualls' artwork is full of energy, and perfectly captures the era's jazzy style Ella
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Colleen
Dec 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book tells the true story of Ella Fitzgerald beginning with her dancing with her mother and sister along to the music coming from the phonograph and ending with Ella recording a number one hit with the Chick Webb Band by the age of twenty-one. Readers will learn about the hardships Ella had to endure after the death of her mother, including not having a home. Readers discover Ella's journey and determination to become a star.

Ella's story is very motivational and needs to be shared with
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Mary
Jul 19, 2011 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 ...more
Melanie
Mar 15, 2015 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
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Mark
May 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adults
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 ...more
Sarah
Apr 26, 2011 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 ...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.
Shannon
Sep 17, 2010 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
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Roxane Orgill is an award-winning writer on music and the author of JAZZ DAY: THE MAKING OF A FAMOUS PHOTOGRAPH, illustrated by Francis Vallejo (Candlewick Press). JAZZ DAY earned six starred reviews and won The Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Best Picture Book in 2016. Orgill has written several biographies for young readers, including SKIT-SCAT RAGGEDY CAT: ELLA FITZGERALD and FOOTWORK: THE ...more