Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Dreams Are Made for Children (BOOK REVIEW)

Dreams Are Made for Children
Classic Jazz Lullabies
Compiled by Misja Fitzgerald Michel
Illustrated by Ilya Green
with a CD featuring a dozen songs performed by Ella Fitzgerald,
Judy Garland, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and others
The Secret Mountain
Hardcover, $16.95
36 pages, Illustrated
ISBN: 978-1-937269-50-0

Book/CD Review by Kam Williams

Sometimes, a little jazz is all you need for a good night's rest! Dreams Are Made for Children features... a selection of timeless... popular standards from the golden age of jazz... that will lull babies into a sweet, blissful sleep. Lyrics and brief explanatory notes with whimsical, dream-like illustrations accompany each song... The music was selected by Misja Fitzgerald Michel, a Paris-based jazz musician, and noted children's illustrator Ilya Green created the colorful images in the 36-page hardcover book."
-- Excerpted from the Bookjacket

As a child of the Fifties who was weaned on jazz, I often worry whether or not the music I most identify with my formative years might one day disappear. After all, only a handful of the legendary players are still alive, and fewer and fewer nightclubs seem to cater to devotees of the once-dominant medium.

For this reason, it is a blessing to find Dreams Are Made for Children, a bedtime picture book which comes with a CD featuring a dozen performances of classic lullabies by a variety of jazz greats. There's "God Bless the Child" by Billie Holiday; "Over the Rainbow" by Judy Garland and "My Funny Valentine" by Chet Baker, to name a few. 
Each of these sleep-inducing serenades is accompanied by lyrics printed against an appropriately-themed backdrop. For example, "Over the Rainbow" includes a rainbow, Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion. It also explains that Garland originally sang the tune in The Wizard of Oz, and that the film was based on a children's novel published by L. Frank Baum in 1900.

In the entry for "My Sleepy Head" we learn that Nat King Cole "had a wonderfully gentle, deep voice" and that he "played the piano with a subtle nervous swing." The title track, " Dreams Are Made for Children," is performed by Ella Fitzgerald, "one of the greatest jazz singers of all time," who was blessed with "a three-octave range" and "a rare talent for improvisation." 
A delightful tome for tired tots designed to introduce the next generation to jazz, America's classical music.

To order a copy of Dreams Are Made for Children, visit:  

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