Lookin' for Bird in the Big City

by Robert Burleigh (Author), Marek Los (Illustrator) Year Published: 2001
A fictionalized version of jazz trumpeter Miles Davis's teenage journey to New York to meet his idol, Charlie Parker, with whom he later performed. Complemented superbly by evocative paintings, done in pencil, oil, and watercolor, the text captures the young Davis' openness to the sights and especially the sounds of the city. The  impressionistic illustrations convey the magnificence of Manhattan as seen from rooftops and bridges, as well as the neon energy of city streets lined with jazz clubs. This jazz picture book can serve as an introduction to the music and its history of jazz, and the detail-rich pictures and bouncy text will hold kids' interest nicely. Recommended reading level: grades 2-4, younger for reading aloud.