Jazz Cats

Article number: 790
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Hip cats rule in this spirited but uneven tribute to the swinging beat of the New Orleans jazz scene. Whisking readers to a "back-alley corner off of Bourbon Street," Davis introduces a talented lineup of felines in a Big Easy band—from "Old Wailing Tijon" on bass and "little skinny Tyrone" on trumpet to a "hot piano kitty with the name Louise" who serves up "some Satchmo and some Holiday/ Down in the Quarter when these jive cats play." Davis clearly had fun with this one, shoehorning in an abundance of jazz slang (e.g., "a real cool daddy from across the tracks"; "Jazz Cats!/ Far-out Jazz Cats!") and references to well-known New Orleans destinations and cuisine (including Preservation Hall, crawfish pie, gumbo and beignets). But a number of amateurish rhymes ("The folks down there never throw a shoe,/ 'Cause the air is filled with sweet jazz and blues"), awkward scans and a bounty of exclamation points hamper the effect. Galey's illustrations are competent and colorful, but readers don't get a feel for the bayou city or the individual characters. All ages. (Oct.)

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