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Cover image for Bird & Diz
Bird & Diz
First edition.
Physical Description:
1 folded sheet (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 22 x 25 cm
General Note:
Fold-out pages.
Added Author:
Presents a rhythmic tribute to Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, and their creation of bebop.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book EASY GOL 1 1
Book EASY GOL 1 1
Book EASY GOL 1 1
Book EASY GOL 1 1
Book E 781.65 GOL 1 1

On Order



An award-winning author and a Caldecott Medalist improvise a playful tribute to the creators of bebop--Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.

When sax player Charlie "Bird" Parker and trumpeter John "Dizzy" Gillespie make music together, they toss notes back and forth like a game of tag and chase each other with sounds. As Dizzy's cheeks puff out like a frog with glasses, the two friends beep and bop and push each other to create a new kind of music--a thrilling fast jazz full of surprises. Blending a playful, rhythmic narration with expressive illustrations as fluid and dynamic as their subjects, this tribute to the masters of bebop by acclaimed biographer Gary Golio and beloved artist Ed Young will have readers hankering to listen for themselves.

Author Notes

Gary Golio is the author of several best-selling and award-winning musical picture-book biographies, including Jimi: Sounds Like a Rainbow, When Bob Met Woody, and Spirit Seeker: John Coltrane's Musical Journey. Gary Golio lives in Hudson Valley, New York.

Ed Young is the illustrator of more than eighty books for children, seventeen of which he has also written. Among his books is the Caldecott Medal winner Lon Po Po, which he both wrote and illustrated. He says that his work is inspired by the philosophy of Chinese painting. He lives in Westchester County, New York.

Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

Young (Nighttime Ninja) draws this homage to Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker not on pages that turn, but on one long piece of stiff paper folded accordion-style, echoing the long, flowing phrases played by the inventors of bebop. "Two hearts-one heartbeat," writes Golio (Spirit Seeker). "You can't even tell whose notes are whose!" Young's sinuous ink line bunches together to portray the faces of the two players, then loosens and grows as it follows the freedom and energy of the music. Scribbles of pink, orange, and blue correspond to bursts of bright notes. Golio's language plays off the music: "I dare you, Birdman! Let it rip!" In the final images, the two musicians bump fists, then sling their arms around each other. Bebop, Golio explains in an afterword, was American music, and because Bird and Diz were black men, their "leadership in this new style of music brought them importance and respect at a time when there was widespread discrimination and racism." The book's language and images are every bit as vibrant as the music they celebrate. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Edward Necarsulmer IV, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

An impressionistic story of a "be-bop-a-skoodley" friendship comes together in the juxtaposition of a series of opposites -- rendering and abstraction, saturation and resistance, darkness and light -- reflecting the special partnership of two distinct musical legends. Golio distills the relationship between John "Diz" Gillespie and Charlie "Bird" Parker into a single, electric jam session, detailing the back-and-forth nature of their improvisational synthesis in expressive, vibrant language. Young illustrates the encounter with an uninterrupted frieze on heavy paper stock, accordion-bound, that extends from the covers in a single continuous panel (a magnetized clasp holds everything together with a satisfying click). Working on chestnut-colored backgrounds, he maximizes contrast, with oily black spirals and melodious blues and greens clashing against fluorescent oranges, pinks, and whites, building to a clamorous climax. Amidst all of this visual energy, portraits of Bird and Diz, sketched in thick or thin black line, tether the abstracted musical interpretation to something recognizable. The resulting combination of words and imagery introduces the unique players and captures the controlled, explosive frenzy of their musical collaboration. An afterword offers a more straightforward definition of bebop and suggests further listening and viewing. thom barthelmess (c) Copyright 2015. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

Golio and Caldecott Medal-winner Young team up to offer this stirring tribute to celebrated musicians Charlie Bird Parker and John Dizzy Gillespie. Masters of a new form of uniquely American music called bebop, the two friends are depicted playing one of their early songs, Salt Peanuts. Golio's tuneful words celebrate their playful collaboration with stirring similes. The musicians toss notes back and forth like jugglers, Diz's cheeks swell up like a frog with glasses, and bebop is like riding a musical roller coaster. Young magically captures this speed and energy in impressionistic, mixed-media illustrations that colorfully caper from left to right. Beautifully designed with accordion-fold pages that open into lavish double-page spreads with a magnetic closure, the book resembles a keepsake album that, when opened, conjures up musical history. An afterword offers further information about these two masters, though readers won't be able to resist returning to the words and pictures with their implied, irresistible music.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2016 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3 Up-This book's capable creators capture the flavor of "Salt Peanuts," a bebop classic associated with Charlie "Bird" Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. Golio has previously tackled the challenge of using words to present musicians as diverse as Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, and John Coltrane. The free verse is arranged to conjure speed and playfulness, and the imagery is amusing, i.e., Dizzy's puffy cheeks are compared to a frog's. The performance is presented as a game: "They take turns,/tossing notes back and forth like jugglers,/or play at the same time,/.Two hearts-one heartbeat." As they race to the finale, "Bird keeps flying, and Dizzy-/well, he's just plain dizzy!/They'll never catch each other,/but that's the point." The ever-experimental Young uses gouache and bursts of orange and pink pastel strokes to form Gillespie and his hot trumpet, whereas Coltrane's saxophone sounds are rendered in greens and blues. The golden brown paper is a subtle nod to the song's title and an effective foil for the color. Accordion pages pull out into a long spread, with the first side establishing the performers and their relationship. A river of ink on the water-repellant paper forms a beaded curvy line-the music pulsing across the gutters, climaxing in a rainbow of percussion. On the reverse, the letters of "bebop" blast out, morphing into frolicking abstractions. A brief afterword creates a context for bebop and encourages listening. It also admonishes readers to "pick up your crayons and draw!" That charge will be irresistible.-Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

The innovative collaboration between jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and saxophonist Charlie "Bird" Parker is celebrated within a double-sided, accordion-fold format.Golio's text both describes and echoes the playful aspects of Bird and Diz's music as "They take turns, / tossing notes back and forth like jugglers, // or play at the same time, / saxophone and trumpet / singing together." Then, "Diz's cheeks swell up, / like a frog with glasses. / He points his trumpet and shoots out fireworks. / Tag, Birdyou're it!" On the first 12 panels, which make up one long, unfurling side of the pleated sheet, Golio focuses on the musicians' onstage interplay. On the reverse panels, the music itself's the focus. "Bebopfast jazz. // It's fall on your face or fly!" Young layers pastels and gouache on golden brown, water-resistant paper, giving each musician a distinctive color aura. Dizzy's is neon orange and fuchsia, while Bird's is teal green and periwinkle with violet accents. These auras not only visually distinguish each musician, but morph, on the verso panels, into a color-coded visual notation, articulating solos and unison playinga bebop ECG! Inked contour lines and looping calligraphy skitter and skip like Diz's staccato trumpet bleats. Alas, the choice of Tempus Sans for the text type sounds the one sour note here: Its twee whimsy's more suited to lullabies than hip, mid20th-century bebop. Exuberant and gorgeouslike the music. (afterword, suggested recordings) (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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