Cover image for Heaven's all-star jazz band
Heaven's all-star jazz band
Carter, Don, 1958-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : A. Knopf, 2002.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
A young boy imagines his grandfather playing with jazz music greats up in heaven.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.0 0.5 66978.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



In a text that grooves and swings with the rhythms of jazz, Don Carter celebrates some of America's greatest jazz legends. Grandpa Jack loved jazz. He called it "heavenly." So now that heaven is where Grandpa Jack's at, his grandson imagines it to be a place filled with music. In a club called the Cotton, Grandpa Jack can hear all his favorite musicians play together in Heaven's All-Star Jazz Band. And when that glorious music has filled his soul, Grandpa Jack steps up onto the stage and adds his own bit of rhythm with his famous spoons solo. Don Carter celebrates some of jazz's greatest legends and the lasting bond their music creates between a boy and his grandfather.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

PreS^-Gr. 2. Grandpa has gone to heaven, and his grandson imagines the happiest place possible, a place filled with music. Grandpa loves jazz; he calls it heavenly. So Grandpa floats through the clouds, where Duke plays the piano, Dizzy blows the trumpet, and Ella jams with Billie. Here's yet another book that tries to make a connection between jazz and young children, but this one has several things going for it, including an upbeat mood and a syncopated text. The three-dimensional artwork, filled with musicians with wings and real album covers hanging on walls, has a naive, kidlike quality that will immediately appeal to the audience. And rather than focusing on the sound of the music (although that aspect does play a role), here the emphasis is on the members of the band, each an interesting character in his or her own right. As with recent books, such as Chris Raschka's book John Coltrane's Giant Steps [BKL Jl 02], many kids may have no idea who the jazz greats actually are. On second thought, with so many recent picture books on greats like Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, and Ella Fitzgerald, the names may ring a bell after all. --Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this ambitious and inviting ode to jazz, an African-American boy imagines what heaven is like when his music-loving grandfather joins idols such as Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker. Visually, the book is a tour de force. Carter's (Wake Up House!) distinctive, 3-D concoctions of foam board, bright acrylic paint and plaster, successfully translate a lofty abstraction into a joyful feast for the senses. "Every night in heaven/ The jazz is hot/ in a club called Cotton," a paradisiacal honky-tonk that blissfully mixes the celestial (thick, cake frosting-like clouds, stars and feathery angel wings) and the earthly (Satchmo singing scat, couples dancing and Duke Ellington seated at a white baby grand). Round, bespectacled Grandpa quietly soaks up the tunes until he finally earns wings-and a spot in "Heaven's All-Star Jazz Band." Despite the visual extravaganza, the clunky rhymes and nostalgic theme may unfortunately leave children cold. Numerous, breezy references to long-gone (however legendary) musicians and recurring references to Gillespie's composition "Salt Peanuts," will likely appeal more to jazz-loving parents, who may well relish the opportunity to fill in the gaps and make converts of the next generation. Ages 5-8. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-From its captivating endpapers to its funky title page, this book will draw readers in with its strong, pulsing beat. A small boy imagines that his Grandpa Jack, who loved jazz and who is now up in heaven, is surrounded by all the greats. In Heaven's Cotton Club, there's an all-star band filled with all the immortals from Louis Armstrong to Charlie Parker to Miles Davis. Grandpa Jack hangs back, nervous about being in the company of these jazz legends, but the music draws him in and finally, after watching the singers and musicians he's loved all his life, he starts moving and grooving to their sounds, even playing the spoons. His musicality earns him his angel wings. Foam-board collage paintings with thick brush strokes give many figures and scenes a three-dimensional appearance. Rachel Isadora's Bring on That Beat (Putnam, 2002) and Chris Raschka's Charlie Parker Played Be Bop (Orchard, 1992) use illustration with minimal text to celebrate the sound and beat of the music. Jonathan London's Hip Cat (Chronicle, 1993) and Alice Faye Duncan's Willie Jerome (Macmillan, 1995) tell more of a story. This book does both, using sound words, rhyme, and rhythm with stylized illustration to tell an imaginative tale and pay tribute to the music and its stars.-Jane Marino, Scarsdale Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.