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Sonny Rollins Plays the Bridge by Gary Golio
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Sonny Rollins Plays the Bridge

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Sonny Rollins Plays the Bridge by Gary Golio
Hardcover $17.99
Oct 19, 2021 | ISBN 9781984813664

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  • Oct 19, 2021 | ISBN 9781984813664 | 4-8 years

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★ “Based on a true story, this charming picture book captures and shares the spirit and rhythm of Sonny’s playing. The free verse text makes nice use of figurative language (“The river is a shiny endless song,” “the sprawling spider city”) and Ransome’s gorgeous representational art, richly created with watercolor and collage, expands the story beautifully. Together, text and art are a happy exercise in harmony to delight readers’ ears and eyes. Following the story, readers will find back matter offering more details on Rollins’ life, beliefs, and music, as well as the Williamsburg Bridge.”—Booklist, starred review

★ “The harmony represented on the page…is also reflected in the harmony between the poetic text and the artistic images: Both show an African American man who finds peace on his own terms, in his own space, doing what he is meant to do…Ransome’s illustrations convey character, mood and setting to great effect, matching the spare, effective text with energy and vibrancy that tempt readers to seek out Rollins’ sound. This meditation on music, art, and integrity offers inspiration and food for thought. This loving tribute is a generous introduction to a figure worth knowing.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

★ “In an evocative snapshot of a moment in a musician’s life, Golio celebrates Black saxophonist Sonny Rollins’s (b. 1930) private escape to a public place. . . . Ransome creates vivid watercolor and collage spreads. . . . Ransome doesn’t stint on background scenery; he paints the structure, the buildings below it, and even the traffic along the river with reverence. Up on the bridge, golden bubbles of effervescent sound burst from the bell of Rollins’s instrument as he plays to his heart’s content . . . against the rhythm of trains ‘clanking clanging’ and ‘tugboats/ blowing bass notes.’ The creators’ deliberate lines and detailed visuals sing like music themselves as they pay homage to an artist who finds a way to ring out loud and clear.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

★ “Poetic book…Rich, figurative language. This book would be a terrific support to studying poetry with students…The lush watercolor illustrations are highly detailed and support the text wonderfully…Positive representations of Black artists are always welcome additions to library collections, and this work stands out as a biography in verse. Recommended for elementary collections, especially for poetry, biography, and music units.” —School Library Journal, starred review

“Golio is known for his picture-book biographies about musicians, and here his precise and expressive free verse is well paired with Ransome’s evocative art. In beautiful watercolor and collage he splendidly captures both the vibrant spirit of the city and the luminous persona of the jazzman. Back matter includes information about Rollins’s career and the Williamsburg Bridge as well as some of Rollins’s own words.” —Horn Book

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