Publication Date: September 2010
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Classic recordings from the swing era by Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Fats Waller, and other jazz legends are the centerpiece of this storybook-music CD set. The illustrated story recounts the adventures of a little Brazilian cricket named Zaz who dreams of singing in New York. Zaz hops a ride on a woman’s fruit hat from her homeland to Manhattan, where she meets a savvy fly named Buster who knows all the spots to hear cool music. He takes her to the Swing Café on East 54th Street where they dance the Charleston, the Shimmy, and the Skeedle Loo Doo. Everyone there speaks a common language, called Swing, and Zaz is inspired to take to the stage, sing from the heart, and deliver the performance of a lifetime. The Broadway star Carmen Miranda, who was affectionately nicknamed in Brazil "La Pequena Notavel" (The Remarkable Little Girl), is the primary source of inspiration for this poetic and heartwarming story. Throughout the CD's narration, snippets of classic 1930s jazz songs add a lively rhythm to the story, and an additional seven songs are performed in their entirety by the original artists.
Carl Norac is an award-winning author who has written more than 40 children’s books, including I Love You So Much, which was a Publisher’s Weekly bestseller. Rebecca Dautremer is the illustrator of The Secret Lives of Princesses and more than thirty other children's books. Bebel Gilberto is a rising star in world music who has recorded with Kenny G, David Byrne, Caetano Veloso, and Laurie Anderson. Her debut album Tanto Tempo climbed the world music charts with more than 1 million copies sold worldwide and became the third-best-selling Brazilian album ever in North America. She lives in New York City. David Francis trained as an actor at LAMDA in England and later at Shakespeare and Company in Massachusetts. He lived and worked in the UK for 20 years with several theatre companies in London, Exeter, Canterbury and Sheffield. He recently completed his eighth season at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario, Canada. He lives in Montreal.
"Dautremer's visual imagination taps the subconscious brilliantly . . . Norac's writing is equally arresting." Publishers Weekly
"The package is unusual and fresh." Kirkus Reviews
"Combining books and music has been a growing trend, with a number of notable new additions . . . Secret Mountain also is continuing its wonderfully innovative storybook-music CD series with two new titles. Swing Café (written by Carl Norac and illustrated by Rebecca Dautremer) follows the adventures of a cricket named Zaz to the soundtrack of vintage jazz tunes (Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald, etc)." L. A. Parent