Ol’ Bloo’s Boogie Woogie Band and Blues Ensemble – Jan Huling, illustrated by Henri Sorensen

 Ol’ Bloo’s Boogie Woogie Band and Blues Ensemble – Jan Huling, illustrated by Henri Sorensen, Peachtree, (9781561454365), 2010

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1- 5 (5 is excellent or a Starred review) 4

Genre: Picture Book

What did you like about the book? This retelling of the classic Grimm’s tale of The Bremen Town Musicians is set in Louisiana and employs Cajun colloquialisms and a distinctive Louisiana cadence in the text.  Four old and abandoned animals, Ol’ Blue Donkey, Gnarly Dog, One-Eyed Lemony Cat and Rusty Red Rooster team up to seek their fortune in New Orleans.  Unfortunately their voices are not as bee-yoo-ti-ful” as they think.  The rooster has a voice that sounds “like a player piano bein’ hit with an ax,” the cat’s voice is compared to “a fiddle bein’ played with a carvin’  knife,” the dog sounds “like a gui-tar bein’ scraped with a washboard,” and the donkey’s voice  “sounded like an accordion fallin’ down the stairs.”  When the quartet comes upon a warm cabin, their impromptu concert scares off the three thieves inside.  In the end, the four friends decide to stay in the cabin and give up their dreams of playing in a honky tonk in New Orleans: “Them big city folks never knew what they missed.”  The oil on canvas illustrations including the use of black silhouettes perfectly complement the tale with expression and humor.  This is a wonderful retelling of a classic tale with a text that reads with the rhythms of Cajun music.

Anything you didn’t like about it?   No

To whom would you recommend this book?  Hand this to readers who love the original tale and retellings of classic folktales.  Pure fun as a read aloud!

Who should buy this book?  Public Libraries and elementary school libraries

Where would you shelve it?  Picture Books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this at the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City:  Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

Date of review:  12/17/2020        


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