Congratulations to Joan Edwards who won Barbara Younger's painting from last week's blog.
The other day I received a stack of books from Sleeping Bear Press which included several nonfiction titles.
In honor of Black History month, I chose Stompin' at the Savoy: How Chick Webb Became the King of Drums by Moira Rose Donohue as the first one to read and giveaway.
As I write two nonfiction picture books, I am participating in a superb online "crash course" in writing nonfiction, NF Fest. Each day a different author posts information and an activity related to writing nonfiction. Today, I was inspired by Candace Fleming's challenge, "Let's Make a Scene" to look at the scenes and summaries in a nonfiction text. She defines scenes as "a specific time, a specific place, and one change." Summaries,
tell the reader something necessary without creating a full scene. You can use summary to transition between scenes, set the tone or mood for the next scene, leap forward in time, or explain something (context) your readers will need to understand the next scene. We can identify it by its lack of time and place.
This blog will be my analysis of some of the scenes and summaries in Stompin' at the Savoy.
The book opens with a scene of William Henry "Chick" Webb tapping rhythms on iron railings and marble steps. The author and illustrator foreshadow the changes that will occur in Chick's life.
The reader turns the page and on the left side finds a summary of William's early childhood illness that affected his spine. On the right is the dramatic illustration of this scene:
After the fall and an operation, the doctor wanted him to get a set of drums to strengthen his arms (summary). In the next two-page scene William is in the kitchen with his mother pounding on "pots and pats, floorboards and washboards" (notice the wonderful alliteration and internal rhyme!) because the family couldn't afford drums or drumsticks. William made his own drumsticks!
The following page is a summary illustrated here. There's no time or place, but rather an explanation of how William became known as Chick.
Next, the reader sees a scene in which Chick is making money by selling newspapers and twirling his real drumsticks in the air. The change is that he has saved up money to buy the drumsticks and is attracting attention, and spare change, with his tricks.
The next scene shows how although Chick stopped growing at four feet, one inch, he saved enough money to buy a drum set.
The reader then learns through the following scenes how jazz bands were "jamming all over the country" and Chick was hired to play with other bands. Finally, Chick started his own swing band and hired Ella Fitzgerald as his lead singer.
The next scene shows the dancers at the Savoy ballroom where Chick's band was hired to play.
At that time, band competitions were the rage. There's a scene where Chick loses to Duke Ellington. Disappointed but undeterred, Chick challenges Benny Goodman, the "King of Swing" to a battle of the bands.
Several pages depict both summary and scenes at the Savoy the big contest night.
The climax of the competition is depicted in this scene in which Benny Goodman's drummer bows to the new "King of Drums."