Jazz on the Farm

Acoustic Rooster and his Barnyard Band
By Kwame Alexander
Illustrated by Tim Bowers
(Sleeping Bear Press, 2011, Ann Arbor, $15.95)

Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band is a work of fiction, but, like the best picture-book biographies, it is a playful introduction to ideas and real-life figures. In lively rhyme, Kwame Alexander tells the tale of Acoustic Rooster, a guitar-strumming fowl with jazz aspirations. Preparing for the Barnyard Talent Show, he encounters such jazz luminaries as Duck Ellington, Mules Davis, and Bee Holiday, animals with the same talent and personae as their human counterparts. Acoustic Rooster soon forms a band and throws himself into the competition. Along the way, he discovers the joys of collaborating and entertaining and learns something about the true nature of success. Tim Bowers’ exuberant illustrations bring the Jazz Age to the barnyard, and a glossary and timeline offer information about jazz and the artists who inspired the book.


  1. I love this idea! I can totally see this being a big influence on kids’ understanding and interest in jazz artists. I can imagine, if I’d read this as a child, how I would be delightfully surprised to grow up and discover the inspirations for these barnyard animals 🙂

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