By Bonnie Christensen
Square Fish, Hardcover, 9781596434226, 32pp.
Publication Date: September 1, 2009
List Price: $17.99*
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Born into a travelling gypsy family, young Django Reinhardt taught himself guitar at an early age. He was soon acclaimed as the "Gypsy Genius" and "Prodigy Boy," but one day his world changed completely when a fire claimed the use of his fretting hand. Folks said Django would never play again, but with passion and perserverance he was soon setting the world's concert stages ablaze. Bonnie Christensen's gorgeous oil paintings and jazzy, syncopated text perfectly depict the man and his music.
“Christensen supports the inspirational story with rich, vibrant paintings that capture the texture and tone of the landscapes in Django’s life: burnt oranges and various shades of brown bring the Gypsy campfires to vivid life, while bright blues shimmering under the sharp yellows of stage footlights depict the electricity of the guitarist in performance.” —Starred, Booklist
“Christensen completes the tale of the guitarist’s success with an author’s note, a brief paragraph on the Roma people, and a bibliography/discography. She includes enough detail to give perspective, but it is her lush paintings that so effectively give life to the man’s effervescent charm and determined courage.” —Starred, School Library Journal
“A sensuous tribute to an illustrious musician.”—Publishers Weekly
"Christensen casts her narration in thrumming free verse….Loosely sketched line drawing is densely filled with jewel-toned hues, and the…scenes of Roma and Parisian life will tickly young viewers’ imaginations. This rags-to-riches true story should have broad appeal beyond budding jazz enthusiasists…” -- BCCB
“Christensen offers a lyrical, lovely picture book biography of the early life of jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of his birth on Jan. 23, 1910. It’s a fascinating story…. Christensen’s lush oil paintings and rhythmic text conjure up the magic of the amazing story of Django.” -- The Buffalo News