Friday, November 8, 2019

"Welcome to Jazz," a Fun Interactive Sound Book for Kids Makes a Great Gift Idea for Little Ones Who Love Exploring Music (Review)

Disclosure:  I was sent a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

A few years ago, I introduced my two girls to Carolyn's Sloan's "Welcome to the Symphony" book, which let them push buttons and experience music in a fun new way.  Paired with a story, they got to learn about the different musical instruments that made up a symphony, and got to hear what each sounded like.  This book came out in 2015, but my girls still pull it from the bookshelf to play with, as they love listening to the different instruments, and making their own music with them.  So, when I heard that there was a new release last month from Carolyn Sloan, I jumped at the opportunity to review her new "Welcome to Jazz: A Swing-Along Celebration of America’s Music Featuring “When the Saints Go Marching In."  This book is set up just like the "Welcome to the Symphony," with the interactive push button section to the right of the picture book.  But, with this new book, which arrived in stores on October 15th, kids will learn all about jazz music and instruments associated with playing jazz music like the trumpet, double bass, banjo, and drum set.  Each instrument plays a sound clip of the popular song, "When the Saints Go Marching In.'  I couldn't wait to share this book with my girls as I knew they would love having a new interactive musical instrument book from Carolyn Sloan to enjoy.

Here is more about this recent Workman Publishing release:

"With interactive sound technology and vibrant, full-color illustrations, Welcome to Jazz brings the wonders of jazz to life. 

With the push of 12 sound chips on the side panel of the book, readers will become immersed in the music as they read about key concepts found in the genre, like:

·         Beat: A steady pulse that keeps the music together.
·         Improvisation: The art of creating new music on the spot.
·         Scat Singing: A form of improvisation where singers make up melodies and rhythms using nonsense syllables like be-bopdu-we-ah, or zoo-zoo-zi-zah!

The book also features a heartfelt foreword by jazz musician and educator Nikara Warren, the granddaughter of renowned jazz pianist Kenny Barron. "


As soon as my girls saw this book, they were all smiles, and couldn't wait to try out the 12 different sound chips, to hear the instruments of jazz.  In addition to playing around with the sound chips, the girls sat and read the picture book story, which introduces young children (ages 4-8 years old) to the rich history of jazz.  My oldest daughter is a big cat lover, so she liked how this book had scat cats in it exploring the musical genre of jazz and meeting famous jazz musicians like Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Duke Ellington and even Billie Holiday.

I really like how this picture book is set up - full of vibrant full color illustrations that brig the story of jazz to life.  My girls found themselves lingering on each page to take in all the details of the illustrations.  And, when they were done reading, they told me all about what they learned, and which instruments they liked the most, before braking out into song and dance, as they took turns pushing the 12 sound chips to add jazz music to the mix.

My girls really enjoyed this book, and said it was even better than the symphony book.  They had fun listening to the sound bites, as well as learning all about jazz including the instruments played, famous jazz musicians in history, and learned all about scat singing, improvisation and beat.  It is hard to find a book that offers an interactive feature like sound with a fun and engaging educational story.  Carolyn Sloan has done it again with Welcome to Jazz.  With the holidays fast approaching, Welcome to Jazz would make the perfect educational and playful gift for every child, offering a wonderful introduction to the art form and the creativity it inspires.  You can learn more about Welcome to Jazz  by visiting


About the Author:

CAROLYN SLOAN is the author of Welcome to the Symphony. A songwriter and musician, she writes music for theater, television, and children. She is also a music educator at the Berkeley Carroll School in Brooklyn, NY where she lives with her family. As a teacher and conductor, Carolyn Sloan values having children experience music through the joy of actual music-making, teaching them to compose, play, sing, explore and listen with a critical ear.

Disclosure:  I was sent a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

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