Ol’ Bloo’s Boogie-Woogie Band and Blues Ensemble

by Jan Huling
Illustrated by Henri Sorensen
Ol’ Bloo Donkey is dreaming of retirement, but he’s got something different in mind than Farmer Brown.
Price: $16.95
  • ISBN: 9781561454365
  • Publication date: 09/01/2010
  • Page Count: 32
  • Size: 10-7/8" x 9-5/8"
  • Age Range: 6-10


Ol’ Bloo Donkey is dreaming of retirement, but he’s got something different in mind than Farmer Brown.

Ol’ Bloo has spent year after year hauling cotton and dreaming of the day when he could retire from the fields and become a honky-tonk singer. But when he overhears Farmer Brown’s ominously permanent retirement plan for him, Ol’ Bloo decides it’s time to hit the road. Brayin’ and hee-hawin’ his way toward the bright lights of New Orleans, Ol’ Bloo meets up with Gnarly Dog, One-Eyed Lemony Cat, and Rusty Red Rooster, all eager to join him for a lucrative second career. But when the ragtag quartet stumbles upon a tumbledown shack occupied by a band of thieves, their plans take a sudden and unexpected turn…

Jan Huling’s down home retelling of Grimm’s The Bremen Town Musicians set along the Texas-Louisiana border is filled with wit and charm. Illustrator Henri Sørensen’s full-color paintings capture the unique backwoods setting and distinctive personalities of the characters.


Jan Huling


Jan Huling was born in Chicago and raised in St. Louis. She is the author of Ol’ Bloo’s Boogie-Woogie Band and Blues Ensemble and Puss In Cowboy Boots. Huling lives in New Jersey.

Henri Sorensen


Henri Sorensen has illustrated over twenty books for children, including The Yellow Star, The Printer, and Christmas in the Trenches. He is also the author-illustrator of two children’s books, New Hope and Your First Step. Sorensen lives in Denmark.


“Read-aloud audiences will giggle at the dialect, nonstop action, and atmospheric descriptions of Huling’s retelling.” ―Publishers Weekly

“Bayou cadences, outre metaphors for each animal’s singing and an easy way with a rueful folkloric voice make this a treasure.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Huling has fun with dialogue and details… Sorensen’s oils are softly fulsome, too, focusing on the homely, comic personalities of the animals and humans.” ―School Library Journal

“Lyrical language sounds like an old jazz song…Children will enjoy the musical language and the humorous antics of the animals.” ―Library Media Connection

“A handstanding hoot and a half for youngsters to hear and to read, and the luscious shadowy paintings in russet hues add just the right tinge of Old South vibrancy and color.” ―Midwest Book Review

“Younger kids will understand enough to get a good laugh. This is a fun book to read aloud with all the twang and slanted speech.” ―Kid Lit Reviews

“The easy-going, laid-back language of the south adds some welcome down home American comfort to this old story.” ―Shelf-Employed


Best Children’s Books of the Year ―Bank Street College of Education, 2011

Land of Enchantment Book Awards (Picture Narrative Master List) ―New Mexico Library Association, New Mexico Council of IRA 2012-2013

Society of School Librarians International Book Awards (Honor Book, Language Arts Picture Books) ―Society of School Librarians International, 2011

Louisiana Young Readers’ Choice Award (Nominee, Grades 3-5) ―State Library of Louisiana and Louisiana Center for the Book, 2012-2013

Washington Children’s Choice Picture Book Award (Nominee) ―Washington Library Media Association, 2012

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award ―Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, 2010

More Details

AR Level: 4.7
F&P: GRL Q, Gr 4, Genre F
Lexile: AD880L
Themes: Bremen Town Musicians, Dreams, Fractured Fairy Tales, Friendship
BISAC 1: JUV012040 JUVENILE FICTION / Fairy Tales & Folklore / Adaptations
BISAC 2: JUV031040 JUVENILE FICTION / Performing Arts / Music
BISAC 3: JUV039140 JUVENILE FICTION / Social Issues / Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance