Thursday, March 13, 2008

Do A Little Dance, Ditch A Little Book

Ever have one of those days where you just want to dance? Just because? For the past 2 weeks as I've been embroiled in projects at work, taxes, and small business development, I've had Kool Moe Dee running around in my head rapping "I Go To Work!" He came out with that one while I was in college and in college I kept up with music religiously. One of my girlfriends still swears if you wanted the latest of anything (in the genres I listen to, that is), go see Monica!

Every now and again I remember the songs that moved me way back when and I download the good ones in iTunes. People from this generation are free to disagree with me, but the music from the 70s, 80s and even the early 90s are leaps and bounds above the mess going on the airwaves today. Every now and again someone breaks out from the pack and originality (with a dose of old school) prevails. (NeYo, for instance, or Alicia Keys. Love them.) But iTunes didn't have "I Go To Work!" Imagine my dismay! YouTube, however, did and along with my love of KMD returned my respect for the truly great rap artists who could shake and bake those words with nary a profanity in sight. It's an art, I tell ya. They are artists.

This includes Will Smith who - gasp! - some people didn't even know was a rapper before he was an actor. Honestly. Am I REALLY that far along in life now? For those who are too young for my train of thought, KMD did Wild Wild West which Will re-did for the movie. (Great example of dancers in rhythm too.) So here's that one because I was feeling them both all day yesterday, as my co-workers will attest to as well as my son who laughed while I put these on one screen of my computer and danced my heart out while he played his Disney game and jumped up and down with me.

I did and still do adore good music and a really good music video where the beat is contagious and the dancers are in step and in rhythm. I just love watching it. Makes me feel good.

You know what doesn't make me feel good? Bad writing! (See that seague? See it? Good huh?)

This book had me SO annoyed when I read it to Daughter recently that I was forced to go on Amazon and blast it because it was just plain stupid. As a writer, I wait in line with many others who are hoping to get traditionally published someday. Granted, I've been too busy to really make an all-out effort but there's stuff I could show an agent if they really wanted to see if I was worth the time. Now how this book was deemed publishable, I'll never know. But instead of restating what I wrote on Amazon, let me just show you what I wrote there word for word. I am on a crusade to stop people from at least buying this book. OK, you probably have to read it to understand the sheer horror I felt after reading it, but please DO NOT BUY IT! You'll encourage this poor soul to do it again and that I do not want.

Read on:

I don't know how the previous reviewers used this book, but this was a book my 4-year-old chose to check out of the library to read before going to bed. We go every week. She picks books that look good to her and pile them on a chair to take out. I am certain she was drawn to the color of this book as anyone would be. But boy did this book strike a wrong chord with me, corny pun intended.

I started reading it to her and by the end I had to apologize to her for wasting our time when we could have read something that made sense. I understand the INTENT was to have a book about a jazz virtuoso that followed color value and musical notes, etc. But this does not succeed. The result is a book with words broken down in syllables seemingly scattered all over the page which would be fine if:
1 - the words WEREN'T in hard-to-read cursive
2 - the words were in some sort of easy-to-follow order
3 - the writer/publisher didn't assume that everyone could read musically

I showed this to 4 co-workers to make sure it wasn't just me. They were a mix of parents and single, writers and nonwriters and every one of them stepped back upon looking at the first page. "They aren't ALL going to look like this are they?" Oh yes, my friend. They do.

I have never been so annoyed by a book before! Did the author and publisher think about the kids who were learning to read? The parents who would be reading to them? I must have sounded like I just started hooked on phonics myself!

The mystery here is figuring out how to overcome the instinct to read left to right in order to read the blasted thing and I could MAYBE forgive that. But you don't even walk away with a real lesson about Thelonious Monk to make it all worth while.

I didn't even want to give it the one star I gave it but that star would be for visual interest. We love color and THAT it has in spades. Nothing else.

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