King of Ragtime: The Scott Joplin Story (Hardcover)

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Item: 10073456


King of Ragtime: The Scott Joplin Story (Hardcover)
By Stephen Costanza

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 stunning, rhythmic picture book biography of composer Scott Joplin, whose ragtime compositions paved the way for jazz, will captivate audiences and put a beat in their step. The kaleidoscope-like illustrations will draw young readers in again and again.

“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)

“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…. [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)

“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)

About the Author
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

  • Hardcover: 56 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (September 14, 2021)
  • Dimensions: 10” W x 12” H
  • Ages: 4-8 years

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Music Notes

Most Western music is based on a system of notation that evolved around 1600 out of earlier practices. The starting point for any opera is the full score, which contains all individual voices and instruments arranged in a specific order on the page. The written music—representing the sounds a composer creates in his head—then comes to life performed by singers onstage and played by the orchestra.



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