Allison's Book Bag

I Got the Rhythm by Connie and Frank Morrison

Posted on: January 14, 2015

Snap! Tap! Are there songs that when you hear them just make you want to dance? From Connie and Frank Morrison comes a picture book filled with rhythm. The onomatopoeic text of I Got the Rhythm with its accompanying energetic oil paintings makes for a perfect celebration of the city and of music.

Thanks to Connie and Frank Morrison, a walk in the city park may never be the same again. One day, a young African-American girl leaves the house with her mother and thinks of a rhythm in her head. Before long, she is sharing that rhythm with others whom she meets along the way. She exchanges claps and snaps with one peer, then several peers are knocking their knees and shaking their hips along with her. Next she’s tapping to a boom box and dancing to a drum. This garners an audience which includes adults too, many of whom are soon marching and strutting right along with her. Visualize any musical television show or movie where the cast ends up congregating in the street and you have the right image.


The illustrations are what most draw me. Morrison’s bright and rich colored palette helps action jump off the page. At times, he employs unique compositions to heighten the sense of movement. For example, one page focuses on feet, another clasped hands, and still another on the swaying waists. His dual page spreads also pop with movement. One almost feels as if the characters will hop, bounce, jump right out of the book. Finally, the varied cast showcases diversity as an integral part of daily life.

I also appreciate the narrative. When read aloud, it too creates almost a flawless beat. Two times only does the text seems to lose its rhythm. First, when our heroine breaks the two-word pattern to exclaim, “Ooh La La!” Second, there is one instance of dissonance in these couplings: “clapped, snapped, tipped, tapped, popped, locked, hipped and popped”. These minor issues aside, educators will love the appeal to the senses: “I looked at the rhythm… I heard the rhythm…. I smelled the rhythm….I caught the rhythm.” What a refreshing new way to put a twist on descriptive narrations.

Wiggle! Jiggle! Put I Got the Rhythm into the hands of young readers and you’re bound to give them a way to redirect their shoves and squirms. Along with the main character, they will find themselves freed with rhythm and music.

My rating? Read it: Borrow from your library or a friend. It’s worth your time.

How would you rate this book?

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