Lookin’ for Bird

BLOG review by Kelly Hocking

Book:  Lookin’ for Bird in the Big City

By:  Robert Burleigh illustrated by:  Marek Los

Did you ever hear a book make music?  If not, you have simply got to check out Lookin’ for Bird in the Big City by Robert Burleigh.  You cannot help but hear the smooth sound of jazz when you read the words in this book.  Growing up in New Orleans, everywhere I went, there was the sound of jazz music playing in the streets.  In the most surprising places, there would be a group or a lone musician just playing his tunes just for my pleasure.  It makes a city live and breathe and feel like home forever.  Imagine my surprise when I opened this book just to find that every page was filled with that feeling.  It’s been right here in Barrow’s library!

It’s the story of my favorite jazz musician.  His name is Miles Davis.  I have lots of his CDs in my classroom.  You see, jazz music sharpens your mind; that’s what I believe.  Besides, it’s beautiful and uplifting.  Miles Davis played a special kind of jazz called BeBop.  There’s a lot of freedom for the musician in BeBop jazz.  In the book, Miles says, “I let my horn be me.”  His favorite musician was Charlie “Bird” Parker.  Lots of people just called him “Bird.”  Young Miles went looking for Bird in New York City, and this story tells, or rather sings, his adventures.  The paintings in the book are just as musical as the text.  You’ll feel the music as you read and soak up the art.  You can even feel what New York City was like, cool and breezy, sometimes dark but hopeful.

Since Athens is home to so many musicians, this is a great book that’s in our library.  After you read this book, you’ll want to check out Charlie Parker and Miles Davis’ music.  Let me know if you like it, and if you like this book as much as I do, you’ll want to find a copy of Charlie Parker Played BeBop by Chris Raschka.  It’s another book you can just hear and feel in your bones.  There’s nothing I like better than when I can feel a book in my bones….BeBop.

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