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Home on the Range: John A. Lomax and His Cowboy Songs
     

Home on the Range: John A. Lomax and His Cowboy Songs

by Deborah Hopkinson
 

Widely acclaimed for her award-winning picture books, Deborah Hopkinson presents the amazing story of John A. Lomax, the fi rst man to popularize such great American folk songs as 'Sweet Betsy from Pike,' 'Git Along Little Dogies' and, of course, 'Home on the Range.'

When John was a boy in Texas, he wrote down all he'd learned from cowboys. Years later, with the

Overview

Widely acclaimed for her award-winning picture books, Deborah Hopkinson presents the amazing story of John A. Lomax, the fi rst man to popularize such great American folk songs as 'Sweet Betsy from Pike,' 'Git Along Little Dogies' and, of course, 'Home on the Range.'

When John was a boy in Texas, he wrote down all he'd learned from cowboys. Years later, with the encouragement of a beloved teacher, John set out on a cross-country trip to fi nd more songs for a book. Taking along his clunky Ediphone recording device, he convinced cowboys and Gypsies to sing for him and soon he had hundreds of songs preserved for generations to come.

S. D. Schindler's gorgeous art brings the West alive in this inspiring story of discovery, which shows that if you love something as a child, you don't have to give it up as an adult!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

With the flair for which she is known, Hopkinson (Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek) chronicles the early life of John Avery Lomax, a pioneer of folk musicology who got his start collecting cowboy songs. The colorful narrative devotes several spreads to the song collector's childhood in Texas. Glimpses of his thoughts and emotions (e.g, "The songs went straight to John's heart, and he made up his mind to write down each and every cowboy song he heard") as well as dialogue help personalize the story. Short, chapter-like segments begin with lyrics from cowboy songs, like "Poor Lonesome Cowboy," although it may take a more sophisticated reader to connect the songs' themes with Lomax's life. Schindler's (The Story of Salt) realistic illustrations, painted with a light touch in muted hues, ably capture the expressions of skeptical cowboys ("I'm not goin' poke my face up to your blamed old horn and sing," says one at the sight of Lomax's Ediphone) or the eagerness with which Lomax goes about his work. Concluding author notes read more like a standard biography and sketch out Lomax's later years. Ages 6-8. (Jan.)

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School Library Journal

Gr 1-4

This lovely picture-book biography of the noted musicologist describes his youth in Texas where he enjoyed singing as he worked on the family ranch and he listened to cowboys singing as they traveled the old Chisholm Trail. Lomas taught for a few years, but his passionate interest in music won out and led him to become an extraordinary collector of folk songs. Beautiful ink and watercolor illustrations radiate warmth, charm, and humor, highlighting expressive features and striking individuality. The handsome artwork is full of energy and authenticity, and includes faithful and appealing renditions of animals and bucolic landscapes. Excerpts from some songs appear prominently. Addendum material includes additional details about Lomax, his family, and their legacy; information about the Library of Congress archival collection of songs; and a list of other sources.-Kirsten Cutler, Sonoma County Library, CA

Kirkus Reviews
Interspersing her narrative with verses from "Home on the Range," "Sweet Betsy from Pike," "The Old Chisholm Trail" and like cowboy chestnuts, Hopkinson retraces the early career of the greatest collector and recorder of American folk songs ever. Taking minor liberties with the historical record (and compensating with a detailed afterword), she follows him from rural Texan childhood to the halls of Harvard, and then back out onto the trail, where, with a notebook and a primitive "Ediphone," he gathered verses and performances from anyone who would sing for him. In Schindler's atmospheric illustrations a dapper young man mingles comfortably with brushy-mustached, Stetson-topped cowpokes-and sits in one scene with a colorfully clad fortuneteller-in settings that are mostly wide, outdoorsy spreads of western prairie. Capped with a fuller picture of the work of Lomax and his son Alan, as well as enticing source notes, this account can't help but broaden the insight of little dogies everywhere into the histories and meaning of these enduringly popular songs. (Picture book/biography. 7-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399239960
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
01/22/2009
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
9.10(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile:
AD890L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 8 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Deborah Hopkinson lives in Corvallis, Oregon.

S. D. Schindler lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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