So editor and I have been holding our breath, waiting for early reviews to roll in for Raggin' Jazzin' Rockin'. We haven't known quite what to expect because, to our knowledge, there's never really been a "coffee table" book for youth about some of the greatest names in instrument making and their impact on the American musical landscape and pop culture. Too esoteric?
Apparently not, I'm happy to report! On the heels of the enthusiastic thumbs-up from Kirkus a couple of weeks back comes a pair of breath-releasing, smile-inducing reviews from the April ish of VOYA, another key youth literature/library industry magazine. Love that they give teens a critical voice, too! Check it out:
VanHecke, Susan. Raggin’ Jazzin’ Rockin’ : A History of American Musical Instrument Makers Boyd’s Mills Press, 2011 140p. $17.95. 978-1-59078-574-4. Photos. Illus.
This interesting music business read moves at a quick pace, although at times, dry details about the music industry slow down the text. Each chapter covers one instrument maker’s history and their relationship with famous musicians. Author VanHecke includes various musical sections, with chapters on the cornet, strings, drums and keyboards, while gushing over business pioneers, ranging from C.G. Conn to Steinway & Sons. Most music students, as well as history buffs and music lovers, will enjoy this book. Photographs and other illustrations pepper the book, including wonderful shots of famous musicians.From the country music of Bill Monroe and the classics of John Phillip Sousa to the jazz of drummer Buddy Rich and rock-and-roll legends John Bonham and guitarist Eric Clapton—readers will enjoy this back stage pass to the history of American musical instrument makers.— Madelene Rathbun Barnard.
Musicians and music lovers look no further. Raggin’ Jazzin’ Rockin’ is a book for everyone. From ordinary instruments like guitars and piano to fun little devices like the vibraphone and the cassette tape recorder, this is an interesting book. For example, included in this informative text are factual accounts of famous musicians. On another note, a portion of the book proceeds is donated to support music charities. —Angi Barnard, Teen Reviewer
We're ever so grateful for these thoughtful critiques!
Causes Susan VanHecke Supports
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators
National Trust For Historic Preservation