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King of Ragtime

The Story of Scott Joplin

Illustrated by Stephen Costanza

A stunning, rhythmic picture book biography of African American composer Scott Joplin, whose ragtime music paved the way for jazz.

There was something special about Scott Joplin…
This quiet kid could make a piano laugh out loud.

Scott, the son of a man who had been enslaved,
became a king—the King of Ragtime.

This celebration of Scott Joplin, whose ragtime compositions paved the way for jazz, will captivate audiences and put a beat in their step, and the kaleidoscope-like illustrations will draw young readers in again and again.

Photograph by Eva G. Hopkins

Stephen Costanza has illustrated and written several books for children, including three about music, Mozart Finds a Melody, Vivaldi and the Invisible Orchestra, and King of Ragtime. He studied music and composition, and for a time played piano professionally, performing both ragtime and classical music. He lives on a small island in Maine. Visit him at StephenCostanza.com.

Photograph by Eva G. Hopkins

Stephen Costanza has illustrated and written several books for children, including three about music, Mozart Finds a Melody, Vivaldi and the Invisible Orchestra, and King of Ragtime. He studied music and composition, and for a time played piano professionally, performing both ragtime and classical music. He lives on a small island in Maine. Visit him at StephenCostanza.com.

* "Costanza delivers a biography as bouncy and colorful as ragtime itself. . . full of animation and joy, motifs that repeat throughout each gorgeous spread. . . Outstanding." 

– Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

* "The melodic, flowing text goes beyond Joplin's personal details to paint a picture of what life looked like for African Americans during the Jim Crow era . . . Examples are effortlessly woven into the narrative. . . [Events] come alive through gloriously vibrant, full-page gouache collages that pop off of pages, filled with creative and expressive details . . . this attractive offering makes a great read-aloud.

 

– Booklist, Starred Review

* "In this pitch-perfect picture book biography . . . Costanza establishes an atmospheric, folkloric tone in narration rich with onomatopoeia and figurative language . . . fine-lined human figures are delightfully fluid and surrealistic, with Costanza showcasing a deep understanding of color theory. . . A richly detailed profile fit for a king." 

 

– Publishers Weekly, Starred Review