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King of Ragtime: The Story of Scott Joplin

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S&S/Atheneum has bought Stephen Costanza's picture book biography, Scott Joplin, King of Ragtime. The story of America's greatest musical pioneers follows Joplin from his first meeting with a piano to the creation of his record-breaking hit, “Maple Leaf Rag.” The book is set for spring 2019. S&S/Atheneum has bought Stephen Costanza's picture book biography, Scott Joplin, King of Ragtime. The story of America's greatest musical pioneers follows Joplin from his first meeting with a piano to the creation of his record-breaking hit, “Maple Leaf Rag.” The book is set for spring 2019.


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S&S/Atheneum has bought Stephen Costanza's picture book biography, Scott Joplin, King of Ragtime. The story of America's greatest musical pioneers follows Joplin from his first meeting with a piano to the creation of his record-breaking hit, “Maple Leaf Rag.” The book is set for spring 2019. S&S/Atheneum has bought Stephen Costanza's picture book biography, Scott Joplin, King of Ragtime. The story of America's greatest musical pioneers follows Joplin from his first meeting with a piano to the creation of his record-breaking hit, “Maple Leaf Rag.” The book is set for spring 2019.

30 review for King of Ragtime: The Story of Scott Joplin

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tasha

    Scott Joplin was a child who loved to listen to the sounds around him rather than using his own voice. He was the son of a man who was once enslaved. Their home was full of music with his father fiddling, his mother playing banjo and singing, and his siblings playing instruments too. Scott played the cornet. To find work, the family moved north to Texarkana where Giles found work laying tracks for the railway. Scott’s mother found work as a housemaid for a wealthy white family who happened to ha Scott Joplin was a child who loved to listen to the sounds around him rather than using his own voice. He was the son of a man who was once enslaved. Their home was full of music with his father fiddling, his mother playing banjo and singing, and his siblings playing instruments too. Scott played the cornet. To find work, the family moved north to Texarkana where Giles found work laying tracks for the railway. Scott’s mother found work as a housemaid for a wealthy white family who happened to have a piano. When Scott came along to help, he saw the piano and started to play when he had time. Eventually, the Joplin family was able to purchase a piano for Scott and traded housework for lessons. Scott loved learning about the piano and music, but most of all he loved composing his own songs. He played all over town, and eventually made his way north to play in saloons and eventually in Chicago where he heard ragtime for the first time. Scott went to Sedalia, Missouri where he went to college and composed music. He tried to get his songs published and finally found a man willing to take a chance on a Black unknown composer. That’s how “Maple Leaf Rag” became a national sensation. Constanza’s writing is full of rhythm and talks about music throughout. From his mother singing hymns to his family playing together to learning piano to getting work playing and composing, the entire book dances along to the importance of music in Joplin’s life. The writing also incorporates lots of sounds like the chirping of cicadas, the swish of brooms, the plink of the piano, and the OOM-pah! The writing is full of energy and tells the story of Joplin’s life with style. The illustrations are bright and full of color and light. They have elements of quilts that fill the ground with patterns. The skies are blue with swirling clouds that dance in the sky. The towns are full of colorful buildings. Everything is inspiration for Joplin’s music, from the trains to the chickens to the flowers to the towns. It all comes together into one warm and bright world. A jaunty and rhythmic biography of a musical legend. Appropriate for ages 5-8.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tonja Drecker

    The artwork alone makes this a read to pick up, and the history grabs as well. Scott Joplin is also called the King of Ragtime. Not only was he a talented musician, especially in this genre, but he can also be seen as the one, who introduced it to the world. This book follows his life from a child all the way to his success. Firstly, I'm going to have to mention the illustrations because these alone make the book worth a read. The style is full of life and fun, and invites emotions as well as imag The artwork alone makes this a read to pick up, and the history grabs as well. Scott Joplin is also called the King of Ragtime. Not only was he a talented musician, especially in this genre, but he can also be seen as the one, who introduced it to the world. This book follows his life from a child all the way to his success. Firstly, I'm going to have to mention the illustrations because these alone make the book worth a read. The style is full of life and fun, and invites emotions as well as imagination. I enjoyed gazing at the pages and getting lost in the artwork. With such great artwork, I was scared that the text might not hold up as well, but this fear was totally unnecessary. The story flows smoothly, brings the scenes to life and explains each stage of Scott Joplin's life in a way which young readers will understand. Plus, it gives a little glance into the time period and what was happening around that time. This is a great book to pick up to introduce kids to an important musician and a piece of history. I received an ARC and was surprised how well done this book is.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    Top 10 Art Books for Youth 2021 (Booklist)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    The illustrations! Wow!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Beverly

    Reading for the Mock Caldecott Awards for January 2022. I loved this colorfully illustrated book telling the story of Scott Joplin who wrote and performed the first Ragtime music. A young man I had no knowledge of and yet such a boost to our musical history.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bryan Loar

    Beautifully rendered gouache & collage illustrations by Stephen Costanza bring Scott Joplin’s story to life. For a picture book biography, Costanza has struck the right balance between story length and imagery. The inventive way Constanza includes the reader in multiple two-page spreads is of particular note. Preliminary Proofs were consulted. Publication date is expected August 24, 2021.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Katelynne

    I always loved playing Joplin’s pieces growing up but knew nothing about him! Lovely art, solid backmatter.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Baby Bookworm

    This review was originally written for The Baby Bookworm. Visit us for new picture books reviews daily! Hello, friends! Our book today was King of Ragtime: The Story of Scott Joplin by Stephen Costanza, a look into the early life and career of the American composer and pianist. Born into a labor-class black family in the very recently emancipated state of Texas, Scott took an early interest in music and sound. His entire family had a passion for music, and every member played an instrument. While This review was originally written for The Baby Bookworm. Visit us for new picture books reviews daily! Hello, friends! Our book today was King of Ragtime: The Story of Scott Joplin by Stephen Costanza, a look into the early life and career of the American composer and pianist. Born into a labor-class black family in the very recently emancipated state of Texas, Scott took an early interest in music and sound. His entire family had a passion for music, and every member played an instrument. While Scott’s father encouraged his son to work for the railroads – one of the few industries that offered steady work for black men at the time – Scott’s mother encouraged his creative talents, trading cleaning services with a piano teacher for her son’s lessons. Scott left home to pursue his music, playing in saloons, honky-tonks, and cafés, where his unique original songs earned the praise of patrons. Eventually, Scott settled in Missouri, attending college, teaching piano, and playing at a local club called the Maple Leaf. Transposing his unique style onto paper for the first time, he had a few duds before composing his most famous song, one that would go on to transform popular music: “Maple Leaf Rag”. Informative and visually stunning. This picture book biography does a wonderful job of introducing Joplin, the times he lived in, and the formation of his unique musical style. Describing ragtime – the genre Joplin played a major part in bringing to popularity – as a patchwork, Constanza cleverly weaves the composer’s early influences into his life story, from the work songs and spirituals of his youth, to the Germanic songs his father learned under slavery, to the mainstream instrumentals he learned as a student. Music can be difficult to convey in book form, but the mixture of Costanza’s dynamic text, strategic use of emphasis and onomatopoeia, and dramatic, colorful illustrations creates a title that looks and reads like jazz. A sequence at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair is particularly gorgeous, and captures the dreamy whirlwind of musical inspiration. The length is best for older elementary-age bookworms – JJ was definitely beginning to get antsy by the end. But overall, this look at the life and early work of Joplin is a winner. Baby Bookworm approved! (Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.) Be sure to check out The Baby Bookworm for more reviews!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Roben

    Costanza has created a wonderful biography of Scott Joplin! I am sure I heard Joplin's Ragtime before the 1870s, but my first true memory of hearing it is watching the movie The Sting. The Entertainer and the rest of the music from the movie popularized Joplin's music for an entirely new audience. But I never really explored WHO Scott Joplin was - even though I thoroughly enjoyed his music. This book has remedied that problem and led me to explore Joplin's genius. His music was truly innovative. Costanza has created a wonderful biography of Scott Joplin! I am sure I heard Joplin's Ragtime before the 1870s, but my first true memory of hearing it is watching the movie The Sting. The Entertainer and the rest of the music from the movie popularized Joplin's music for an entirely new audience. But I never really explored WHO Scott Joplin was - even though I thoroughly enjoyed his music. This book has remedied that problem and led me to explore Joplin's genius. His music was truly innovative. He was inspired by his post-Emancipation upbringing in Texas, especially after his family relocated to Texarkana. His father had played violin when he was enslaved and so Scott heard the music from his own community and also the more European music his father played - waltzes, gavottes, reels, and other dances. Both influences can be heard in his music. And the illustrations are simply spectacular. I love the picture of the train near the middle of the book when Scott leaves Texarkana and heads out to make a name for himself in the world. This book would make a wonderful read-aloud in school, especially if it was integrated with listening to Joplin's Ragtime music!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Scott Joplin loved music - even as a baby, his eyes would light up when he heard it. As a young boy, he went with his mother to help with laundry and dusting at the house where she was a maid. They had a piano and Scott could play it once all his chores were done. He made up music to match every chore. Soon, his mother was trading housework for piano lessons, and Scott was on his way - writing his own music and playing from the heart. When he was a young man, he headed north to Chicago and start Scott Joplin loved music - even as a baby, his eyes would light up when he heard it. As a young boy, he went with his mother to help with laundry and dusting at the house where she was a maid. They had a piano and Scott could play it once all his chores were done. He made up music to match every chore. Soon, his mother was trading housework for piano lessons, and Scott was on his way - writing his own music and playing from the heart. When he was a young man, he headed north to Chicago and started playing Ragtime, his song "Maple Leaf Rag" was a hit. There's a lot to love about this short biography. I love the onomatopoeia bumpa-bump, clickety-clackety, plinkety-PLONK! and Costanza's illustrations are perfect - with energy and movement - I can just hear Joplin playing that piano. A more thorough biography is included in the author's note, along with a "recommended listening" list and a bibliography. Cross posted to http://kissthebookjr.blogspot.com

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kati

    A beautifully illustrated book about composer and "inventor" of ragtime music, Scott Joplin. The one thing I found a little odd was that they named many of his pieces and repeatedly mentioned "Maple Leaf Rag", which I think many people would recognize, but no where in the book is "The Entertainer" mentioned, which I would have thought would be the piece of music by Scott Joplin that most people would be familiar with. A beautifully illustrated book about composer and "inventor" of ragtime music, Scott Joplin. The one thing I found a little odd was that they named many of his pieces and repeatedly mentioned "Maple Leaf Rag", which I think many people would recognize, but no where in the book is "The Entertainer" mentioned, which I would have thought would be the piece of music by Scott Joplin that most people would be familiar with.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Yee Swope

    Gloriously illustrated, this glimpse into the South during Reconstruction made me hear my childhood piano lessons and the syncopations of Scott Joplin's ragtime melodies. There is so much detail in the multimedia illustrations which include single measures of actual sheet music clippings. It makes me want to pull out my album of The Sting (I know it's anachronistic, but I love it!). Gloriously illustrated, this glimpse into the South during Reconstruction made me hear my childhood piano lessons and the syncopations of Scott Joplin's ragtime melodies. There is so much detail in the multimedia illustrations which include single measures of actual sheet music clippings. It makes me want to pull out my album of The Sting (I know it's anachronistic, but I love it!).

  13. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

    The story of how a young man born in East Texas as slavery was ending, and became known as the King of Ragtime. Influenced by a family who played music, and a mother who saw something special in her young son, Scott went on to develop his musical skills and talents until he emerged as the best Ragtime composer of his era.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Plenty of background text for a picture book. Gives a good overview of Joplin and his times. The author's note is 2 1/2 pages of dense text and is followed by recommended listening and a bibliography. Plenty of background text for a picture book. Gives a good overview of Joplin and his times. The author's note is 2 1/2 pages of dense text and is followed by recommended listening and a bibliography.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    Illustrations, as evident in the dedication, are highly indicative of Ashley Bryan’s work. This had better be a Caldecott contender.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Gorgeous illustrations.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Stunning illustrations, love the range of colors. The text is rich and full of figurative language.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Wow, this book was a stunner. The illustrations are amazing, and the story kept me reading. I'm going with Caldecott contender on this one. Maaaaaaaaybe Newbery, but I think Caldecott more likely. . Wow, this book was a stunner. The illustrations are amazing, and the story kept me reading. I'm going with Caldecott contender on this one. Maaaaaaaaybe Newbery, but I think Caldecott more likely. .

  19. 5 out of 5

    Peacegal

    Stunning and beautiful illustrations dance with color and creativity!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Bell

    Absolutely wonderful. I was a little disappointed they didn't talk about his depression, but then again, it is a book for children. :-) Absolutely wonderful. I was a little disappointed they didn't talk about his depression, but then again, it is a book for children. :-)

  21. 5 out of 5

    Edward Sullivan

    A handsomely illustrated, vibrantly written introduction to the pioneering musician whose compositions paved the way for jazz.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Outstanding!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Caralen

  24. 5 out of 5

    Christina Dendy

  25. 4 out of 5

    kelly

  26. 4 out of 5

    Amber Hulstine

  27. 5 out of 5

    Grace Stafford

  28. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

  29. 4 out of 5

    Earl

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lyndi

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