Book: Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band
Author: Kwame Alexander
Illustrator: Tim Bowers
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press, 2011
Imagine my excitement when I came across this picture book gem written by the Newbery medal-winning author Kwame Alexander. In the Q&A on his website, he mentioned it only took him two weeks to write this book!
This rhyming picture book has appealing illustrations and excellent back matter that can easily be connected to a jazz unit or listening example. Animal characters named after famous jazz musicians populate the musical world inside the book. There’s a jazz glossary with musical definitions, brief descriptions of the real jazz musicians that inspired their animal counterparts, and a timeline from the 1700’s-2000’s.
As with any rhyming book, I highly recommend reading it aloud to yourself before reading it to a class. This book is also available to read on Epic!, a website that is free for teachers. Although I always recommend purchasing books for your classroom or library, you might also consider getting an Epic! account so you can display it on a whiteboard or screen when reading aloud so your students can more fully enjoy the illustrations.