Shake, Rattle & Turn That Noise Down!: How Elvis Shook up Music, Me and Mom by Mark Alan Stamaty (Canada) - (USA)
Pages: 40 pages
Finished: May 17, 2010
First Published: Jan 12, 2010
Publisher: Alfred a, Knopf
Genre: children, graphic novel, non-fiction, biography, history,
The day I turned eight, in 1955, my parents game me a really cool birthday present.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Random House Canada.
Reason for Reading: I entered a contest the author was running for a free copy because the book sounded so cool. I never heard back, knowing I'd not won, and honestly, forgot about the book when six months later I received a cool letter in the mail from the author with a postcard and an original drawing he'd made. I just had to read it after that!
This is truly an amazing book and story that kids and their parents will love and their grand-parents may love even more! I think it's integral to the enjoyment that the child be aware of who Elvis is both through hearing his music and having seen footage of him performing to get the full effect of the story.
The book starts with showing some difference in home life from 1955 and now and to emphasize how excited the author was to receive a radio for his birthday. How pleased his mother was to walk past his room and hear lovely band music coming from it until one day later the next year Elvis hit the airwaves and turned Mark onto the new music scene of "rock and roll". Well, mother flips out from the screeching noise emitting from the radio and we see the comparison in all our lives through ages of parents thinking that their children's music is noise compared to what they listed to as children themselves. Mark takes it a step further and combs his hair Elvis style and learns all his dance moves and words to his songs until eventually his Cub Pack puts on a skit at an annual dinner and they ask their resident Elvis to perform. The end of the book has some photographs of the author as a child and performing at the event as well as of him now turning into an Elvis impersonator.
The book is a lot of fun with some actual laugh out loud moments. This is one that truly will be enjoyed by all ages. I imagine grandparents reading it to grandchildren will especially bond over the book. This is a must have for the classroom and the library. The graphic design of the book is appealing as well. Much of the book uses narrator style rectangles within frames with bubbles showing up here and there. He also has flowing rivers filled with lyrics or music notes emanating from radios and record players to denote music. The lettering is very large caps throughout with the occasional stylized word here and there. Stamaty's drawing style is eye-catching with his people not being quite proportional they look a bit short and squat with big heads. This disproportion is only slightly off so it only gives his characters just that extra bit of interest. I really enjoy the style.
While the story is a lot of fun and kid's will relate to little Mark's feelings of parental frustration, idol worship and later performance anxiety it also contains quite a lot of information on the history of rock and roll: who the early pioneers were and how it was different from what came before. This is a keeper!