The Blues of Flats Brown

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9780823414802: The Blues of Flats Brown

A runaway junkyard dog makes a name for himself playing blues guitar.

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About the Author:

Walter Dean Myers is the celebated author of many award- winning books for children, including "Harlem," a Caldecott Honor Book illustrated by Christopher Myers, and "Somewhere in the Darkness," a Newbery Honor Book. He and his wife live in New Jersey, where he practices his little-known hobby of playing the flute.

Nina Laden is the author and illustrator of the bestselling "When Pigasso Met Mootise" and "The Night I Followed the Dog." She grew up in the New York City area but now lives in Washington State with her husband and three stepsons. Like Flats Brown, she plays blues guitar.

From School Library Journal:

Kindergarten-Grade 4-"This here's the story of Flats Brown, the blues playingest dog you ever heard of." He was born in a Mississippi junkyard owned by a man so mean that he didn't even like himself. All the pup wants to do is play guitar. Grubbs wants to turn him into a fighting dog, so Flats and his friend Caleb, an old dog with a good heart, flee. Pursued by the junkman, he is forced to say good-bye to Caleb, who becomes too tired to run. Flats's adventures take him from playing for pennies on the street to wealth and fame in New York City. There, he finally vanquishes his foe with a song called "The Gritty Grubbs Blues" that "touched Grubbs deep inside." Flats heads back South to play guitar on the waterfront with Caleb because he "-was a blues playing kind of dog, not a filthy rich kind of dog." Story and pictures work well together to create a bluesy atmosphere. Pastel illustrations feature variations of blue to depict the sky, the murky inside of clubs, and the Midnight Special that takes the dog to New York. Laden also uses perspective with dramatic effect. The night train is a long diagonal snaking across two pages, the buildings of New York tilt and loom, and Grubbs's sad face fills the page as he weeps to the blues. While readers may not understand the music, they will respond to this soulful story. Words and music for "The New York City Blues" are appended.
Karen James, Louisville Free Public Library, KY
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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