A Review of "Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band" in School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2–This delightful picture book explores the rich history of jazz via a story about a guitar-playing rooster who sets out to compete in the annual Barnyard Talent Show to find the farm’s best band. Rooster would like to join Thelonius Monkey’s crew, but the rules don’t permit zoo animals. Ella Finchgerald has a trio, but Rooster doesn’t scat. He decides to form his own band. “So, he went to see his cousin,/a pianist of great fame./And found him on the riverbank./Duck Ellington’s his name.” Duck, in top hat and bow tie, takes Rooster to the famed Cotton Club to hear Bee Holiday and other jazzy animals perform. Although the barnyard chicks “swoon” when Rooster’s group plays The Hen from Ipanema, not even an encore in “grand finale style” wins the band first prize. Still, shades-wearing Mules Davis’s comment, “That Rooster sure can play,” leads to a satisfying ending. The large illustrations are done in bold colors and have humorous, jazzy details. Notes on “Musicians, Characters, and Music” are included in the back matter. Children who enjoyed Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s Punk Farm (Knopf, 2005) will be taken with this one.
—Keisha M. Miller, South Orange Public Library, NJ