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Book Reviews

All That the Dog Ever Wanted

By Published: December 23, 2005
Amy Neftzger
All That the Dog Ever Wanted
Fields of Gold Publishing
ISBN: 0974629618
32 pages

In this children's picture book, Django the golden retriever tries to emulate his master, Cole, an aspiring jazz musician. Cole, who we never actually see, has just received a guitar and a drum set as presents. You can imagine what ensues.

Simply illustrated, with little touches of humor (e.g. a "Fetch" drum set), Neftzger's appealing book puts typical conflicts between pet and master in a jazz context, with quite a thought process underlying Django's actions.

In a three-page Frequently Asked Questions section, Neftzger takes on the difficult task of explaining jazz, improvisation, syncopation and Django Reinhardt, with a little bit of fudging (how about including the African-American connection in jazz's origins, or Django's ethnic heritage?)

An accompanying three-song CD leads off with a country swing tune, "So Misunderstood," (from the dog's point of view), co-written by Amy Neftzger and her husband Tyra, a Berklee grad. Lead sheet and lyrics are provided. The last cut is a jazz waltz/swing/blues version of "Oh Where, Oh Where?" (Has My Little Dog Gone). All songs feature Tyra Neftzger on guitar and Chas Williams on dobro.

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