‘Dreams Are Made for Children,’ jazzy lullabies for tired tots

 

Illustration by Ilya Green
Illustration by Ilya Green

“Sometimes, a little jazz is all you need for a good night’s rest! Dreams Are Made for Children features… a selection of timeless… popular standards from the golden age of jazz… that will lull babies into a sweet, blissful sleep. Lyrics and brief explanatory notes with whimsical, dream-like illustrations accompany each song… The music was selected by Misja Fitzgerald Michel, a Paris-based jazz musician, and noted children’s illustrator Ilya Green created the colorful images in the 36-page hardcover book.”

—Excerpted from the book jacket

As a child of the 50s who was weaned on jazz, I often worry whether or not the music I most identify with my formative years might one day disappear. After all, only a handful of the legendary players are still alive, and fewer and fewer nightclubs seem to cater to devotees of the once-dominant medium.

For this reason, it is a blessing to find Dreams Are Made for Children, a bedtime picture book that comes with a CD featuring a dozen performances of classic lullabies by a variety of jazz greats. There’s “God Bless the Child” by Billie Holiday; “Over the Rainbow” by Judy Garland and “My Funny Valentine” by Chet Baker, to name a few.

Illustrations by Ilya Green
Illustrations by Ilya Green

Each of these sleep-inducing serenades is accompanied by lyrics printed against an appropriately themed backdrop. For example, “Over the Rainbow” includes a rainbow, Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion. It also explains that Garland originally sang the tune in The Wizard of Oz, and that the film was based on a children’s novel published by L. Frank Baum in 1900.

In the entry for “My Sleepy Head” we learn that Nat King Cole “had a wonderfully gentle, deep voice” and that he “played the piano with a subtle nervous swing.” The title track, “Dreams Are Made for Children,” is performed by Ella Fitzgerald, “one of the greatest jazz singers of all time,” who was blessed with “a three-octave range” and “a rare talent for improvisation.”

A delightful tome for tired tots designed to introduce the next generation to jazz, America’s classical music.

 

Dreams Are Made for Children: Classic Jazz Lullabies

Compiled by Misja Fitzgerald Michel

Illustrated by Ilya Green, with a CD featuring a dozen songs performed by Ella Fitzgerald,

Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday and others

Hardcover, $16.95

36 pages, illustrated

 

Go to the website  or amazon.com to order a copy of Dreams Are Made for Children.

Kam Williams welcomes reader comments to kam_williams@hotmail.com. Find more interviews and reviews by Williams at www.kamwilliams.com.