Published by Oxford University Press, 2019.
The picture book world of Jazz Dog is divided into two camps: Rock Dogs and Jazz Cats. At their gigs the Rock Dogs play loud, powerful music and all cats are forbidden. Meanwhile, across the city in underground jazz bars, the Jazz Cats play beautiful sweet jazz and there are no dogs allowed. However, there’s one dog who plays differently to the other dogs and he just can’t find a place where he fits in.
Then one evening he stumbles across a jazz bar and he is drawn to the cats’ music. He listens in awe all night long and asks the cats to teach him their sound, but they slam the door in his face. He resolves to learn cat jazz by himself; he listens to jazz recordings, and borrows jazz instruments and jazz music. Despite the ridicule that he endures, he practises cat jazz all day and night – even in the bath!
When he sees a sign for a jazz contest, he registers immediately. As word gets around, cats and dogs are both equally astounded – a dog playing jazz?! For the first time, cats and dogs are at the theatre together. Tensions are high. Will music bring the two factions together?
Most of the scenes are set in dimly lit bars and music venues and much of the action takes place at night; I loved the muted tones of Marie Voigt’s atmospheric illustrations.
Jazz Dog explores both what it means to defy and conform to expectations and highlights the pressures and costs of both. The book’s theme of having the confidence to be yourself and follow your heart is positive and up-lifting.
Suitable for children aged 3+
I originally reviewed this book for the BooksforTopics website (click here for link). Thank you to Oxford University Press and BooksforTopics for sending me this book to review.