The Django

40p. 978-0-76364-788-9.
Gr 2-4 Young Jean is the only one who can see the gnomelike creature who is making mischief throughout his Gypsy family's encampment. "A Django. It's like a thing. A sort of it. A kind of cozzler that always seems to find trouble." The creature spooks the horse pulling the caravan, causes Jean to call people horrible names, and destroys father's banjo. The child is blamed for all of the Django's misdeeds, and he angrily banishes the troublemaker. One uneventful week later, Jean's father presents the boy with a banjo of his very own. Jean regrets shouting at the Django, but as he plucks at the banjo strings, he begins to feel better. An author's note explains that this story was inspired by the childhood of famous jazz musician Django Reinhardt; it goes on to relate a little more information about his life and career. Lush watercolor paintings with stylish details make this a visually stunning picture book. The story, however, doesn't come together: sad-faced Jean is a pensive waif, but it's hard to comprehend his affection toward the sinister-looking Django with its toothy grin. There seems to be a connection between it and Jean's latent musical talent, but this needs to be clarified. The language is piquant but uneven, and this gorgeous-looking tale falls flat."Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA" Copyright 2010 Media Source Inc.
The Django, a mischievous creature, causes all sorts of trouble, destroying Pa's banjo, for starters. Of course, it's always Jean who gets the blame. Tired of the Django's antics, Jean orders it to leave--but soon misses it. The story's connection to jazz musician Django Reinhardt, explained in the author's note, is tenuous at best. Watercolor illustrations, the book's highlight, are full of emotion and character.

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