Stompin’ at the Savoy: How Chick Webb Became the King of Drums By Moira Rose Donohue & Illustrated By Laura Freeman

Back of Book:
Though a disability stunted his growth and left him with a hunched back, William Henry “Chick” Webb did not let that get in the way of his musical pursuits. Even as a young child, Chick saw the world as one big drum, pounding out rhythms on everything from stair railings to pots and pans. His love of percussion brought him to the big time as an influential big band leader. This picture-book biography details the life of black American jazz drummer Chick Webb, who in the 1930s led one of the big bands of the swing era, earning him the nickname the “King of the Savoy.”
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Sleeping Bear Press in exchange for an honest review.
“Stompin’ at the Savory: How Chick Webb Became the King of Drums by Moira Rose Donohue is a nonfiction narrative that celebrates the resilience and music of William Henry “Chick” Webb. As a young boy, Chick suffered an accident that would leave him with a permanent hunch back. Even though things were hard for him, Chick never allowed it to interfere with his love of playing drums. He sold newspapers in the street until he could afford his own set of drums. In the late 1920s, a new kind of jazz music called swing hit the streets. Chick was quick to form his own band and hired Ella Fitzgerald as his lead singer. Chick loved participating in band battles because he almost always won. He decided to challenge Benny Goodman to a battle of the bands. That battle would go down in history and made Chick a legend in swing music.
The text of this book is well written and has onomatopoeia words sprinkled throughout the story. I loved that those words have different colors, which allows readers to focus on them. The illustrations by Laura Freeman are done with bold and vibrant colors. She beautifully captured the world of swing music. The back of the book has more information about Chick and his amazing drumming abilities. This is a fantastic story about a man who never allowed anything to get in the way of him making music on his drums.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

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