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by John Cech, Sharon McGinley-Nally (Illustrator)

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal - School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Against a tapestry of backwoods and cypress swamps, a tale unfolds inspired by one of north Florida's legendary fiddlers. In love with sound and rhythm, Django takes naturally to his grandfather's fiddle, charming the birds and animals in the forest roundabout, but leaving his parents and grandmother less than amused. When the birds he attracts destroy their garden and Django begins neglecting his chores, the fiddle goes back to the bottom of the family trunk. And there it lies until storm winds rage and the boy saves the animals from the flooded woods. Cech's tale resounds with the folklife of the area, as do McGinley-Nally's vibrant folk-art vignettes. A more felicitous pairing of author and artist would be hard to imagine. Using intensely vivid watercolors on naturally tinted and mottled paper, the artist creates a series of tableaux of backwoods life, richly patterned and alive with the flora and fauna of Django's world. As spirited and captivating as one of the musician's own tunes, this is a lively yarn and a fitting tribute to the folk culture of the region.-Marcia Hupp, Mamaroneck Public Library, NY
Julie Corsaro
Inspired by tales about legendary Floridian fiddler Cush Holston, this imaginative retelling has splendid illustrations. Set in the Cyprus swamp, it stars precocious fiddler Django whose music mesmerizes the backwater critters. But when the crows ruin Daddy's garden and a bear spooks Grandma Thelma, the cherished instrument goes back into the family trunk. It's brought out again during a hurricane, and Django's songs save the animals, who take refuge from the floodwaters on the front porch and on every high spot around the house ("It was just like Noah's Ark!"). While the text, longer than in many picture books, is occasionally lyrical and the ending is satisfying, the artwork wins the day. Surrounded by whimsical borders featuring angels, gators, and quilt squares and set against sponged golden brown paper, the unusual folk-art watercolor paintings are precisely detailed and brightly colored. The author acknowledges the troubadours who influenced his storytelling in an appended note.

Product Details

Little Simon
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st Edition
Product dimensions:
9.06(w) x 10.36(h) x 0.75(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

John Cech writes plays, poetry, and fiction for both children and adults, and is a Professor of English at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He is also the Director of the Center for Children’s Literature and Culture and has served as a judge for The New York Times Best Illustrated Books of the Year, as well as the Boston Globe/Horn Book Awards; was President of the Children’s Literature Association; and won the Chandler Award of Merit for his work in Children’s Literature.

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