Chris Raschka has received the Caldecott Medal twice, for The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norman Juster and for A Ball for Daisy, which he wrote and illustrated. He is the acclaimed illustrator of many books for children, including the Caldecott Honor Book Yo! Yes?; I Pledge Allegiance by Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson; Dylan Thomas's A Child's Christmas in Wales; The Grasshopper's Song by Nikki Giovanni; and A Poke in the I, A Kick in the Head, and A Foot in the Mouth, all edited by Paul B. Janeczko. Chris Raschka lives in New York City.
This tribute to the innovative jazz keyboardist and band leader
synthesizes brilliant paintings with a narrative that strikes just
the right chords for its audience. ... Incorporating musical
notation sheets into luminous watercolor-and-ink pictures, Raschka
repeats their horizontal lines in piano strings, library
bookshelves, city blocks and the very rectangularity of many
compositions. The joyful palette--yellow, red, blue-green,
sienna--and wildly gestural black ink celebrate Sun Ra's unique
spirit. Unequivocally stellar.
--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
A fantastical tribute. ... This is not the first time Raschka
has captured jazz in imagery, and here his trademark loose gestural
style is especially effective in reflecting both the subject's
untethered spirit and impenetrable persona. The images themselves
are dense and dynamic, painted on a variety of textured papers and
musical notation sheets and full of brilliant color and heavy
black. ... In the end, readers get a bright, impressionistic
portrait that follows its subject's refusal to play by the
--The Horn Book
Raschka's chief metaphor is a rich one: Sun Ra (born Herman P.
Blount) fancied himself as Saturn born, and thus his quizzical
questioning of the world is depicted extraterrestrially... As an
experience... [this book] definitely swings.
Raschka pictures Sun Ra and his Arkestra orchestra in chromatic
gouache daubs and silhouette-black lowlights, bringing to mind
Romare Bearden's sultry palette and mellifluous collages. Raschka
acknowledges the social and musical influences on the innovative
artist... [and] provides a selective list of recordings,
encouraging readers to consider Sun Ra's nonconformity and genius
alongside a first listen to his polyphonic music.
Highlighting Sun Ra's peculiar claim of origin is a wonderful
way to capture the openhearted weirdness of the musically
precocious Herman P. Blount... Mr. Raschka's messy, moody,
exuberant watercolors look like Sun Ra's music transformed into
paint--a gloriously cacophonous unity of subject matter, text and
--The Wall Street Journal
[An] inventive opening scene of a roughly outlined Sun Ra
crashing down to Earth and a few views of the full Arkestra in
their dazzling garb... [V]iewers find cityscapes and contemporary
musicians, which are skillfully rendered in Raschka's signature
explosion of thick, freewheeling line and splashes of vibrant
--Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
The idea of a picture-book biography of out-there jazzman Sun Ra
for kids is a delight. ... Raschka's colorful, impressionistic
illustrations are like bits of jazz on the page.
--The New York Post