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Donohue, Moira Rose

Stompin' at the Savoy: How Chick Webb Became the King of Drums

(3) K-3 Illustrated by Laura Freeman. Jazz drummer and swing-band leader Chick Webb had big challenges--and big dreams. Spinal tuberculosis caused him constant pain and stunted his growth at four feet, one inch. Nevertheless, this gifted African American musician grew up to form his own band (with singer Ella Fitzgerald), winning a legendary "battle of the bands" against Benny Goodman in 1937. Donohue's upbeat text includes lots of onomatopoeia, emphasizing the rhythms that kept Webb's "heart beat[ing] in swing time." Freeman's energetic illustrations keep pace with the narrative and ably convey Webb's indomitable spirit. An endnote provides some historical context.

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