Shake, Rattle & Turn That Noise Down!: How Elvis Shook Up Music, Me and Mom by Mark Alan Stamaty

41868650Lynn: Tell a teenager that you grew up in a house that for years had one TV and one radio and they will look at you as if you have tree roots growing out of your nose. Mark Stamaty tells it like it really was and this bright musical memoir really struck a chord with me. In 1955, Mark was given a radio for his 8th birthday and for a few years all was mellow. Then Elvis Presley hit the airwaves and music – and Mark – changed forever. The comic-book style illustrations in Shake, Rattle & Turn That Noise Down (Random/Knopf 2010) hit just the right note to show how that revolutionary sound shook the world.

The bright busy pages seem to shake, rattle and roll just like the music. My favorites are a two-page spread showing the young Mark literally being turned upside down as Elvis’ music blasts out for the first time, followed by his Mother shrieking and looking like, “a cornered hostage in a vampire horror movie.” Kids may not dig Elvis but the parental reaction to music may look familiar 😉 This is a really fun look at life in the 50’s and music history. The best thing about this book though is the wonderful depiction of that special moment when an amazing sound connects with us – turning our musical worlds upside down. That epiphany is the same whether it is Elvis or Eminem.

I’m Mark’s age but I lagged behind him in popular musical awareness. I remember Elvis but my world-changing musical moment came when I heard the Beatles for the first time. What was yours?

love-radioCindy: I remember my first personal radio and here’s a photo to show you just how cool it was. I now have an mp3 player, but my music was portable even back in the day, thanks to this hip transistor radio that I could wear around my neck! I thought I was rockin’ it with my David Cassidy and the Partridge Family songs blaring out of its speakers. This book will span many age levels and would be a perfect starting point for a memoirs or decades unit, or for projects based on turning points in history. It’s a picture book that will appeal to middle schoolers for sure, partly due to its graphic novel format. In addition to the elements Lynn praised, I liked the fun, sly details in the illustrations, from the publication data presented in the shape of a 45, and the title page Alfred A. Knopf dog’s speech bubble “Nothin’ but a WHAT?” to the shelf of Hardy Boys’ books in Mark’s bedroom. My world-changing musical moment came September 20, 1973, during 7th grade when Jim Croce (Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown) died in a plane crash. It was the first of many musicians’ deaths that would rock my world.

nonfictionmondayThank you to Books Together for hosting Nonfiction Monday!



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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