Rock and Roll Highway: The Robbie Robertson Story by Sebastian Robertson, Adam Gustavson |, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Rock and Roll Highway: The Robbie Robertson Story
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Rock and Roll Highway: The Robbie Robertson Story

by Sebastian Robertson, Adam Gustavson
     
 

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Canadian guitarist and songwriter Robbie Robertson is known mainly for his central role in the musical group the Band. But how did he become one of Rolling Stone's top 100 guitarists of all time? Written by his son, Sebastian, this is the story of a rock-and-roll legend's journey through music, beginning when he was taught to play guitar at nine years old on

Overview

Canadian guitarist and songwriter Robbie Robertson is known mainly for his central role in the musical group the Band. But how did he become one of Rolling Stone's top 100 guitarists of all time? Written by his son, Sebastian, this is the story of a rock-and-roll legend's journey through music, beginning when he was taught to play guitar at nine years old on a Native American reservation. Rock and Roll Highway is the story of a young person's passion, drive, and determination to follow his dream.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/01/2014
Robertson details his father’s development as a Canadian musician who eventually became known for his work with the Band. Influenced by his First Nation heritage, Robertson formed his first band at age 13; interactions with artists like Buddy Holly and Bob Dylan helped him hone his guitar style. Robertson offers insight into the musical scene of the time, noting the Band’s unique aesthetic: “It was as if they stumbled out of the 1800s right on to the psychedelic rock scene of the 1960s.” Gustavson’s naturalistic oil paintings combine off-the-cuff moments with more iconic compositions that might have been pulled from dusty album covers. A detailed time line and a q&a flesh out this loving account. Ages 6–9. Author’s agent: Ryan Harbage, Fischer-Harbage Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Abigail Samoun, Red Fox Literary. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

“A thorough chronicling of a musical trailblazer.” —Kirkus Reviews

“This attractive picture book biography profiles artist Robbie Robertson . . . a well-illustrated and nicely told story.” —School Library Journal

“Kids who like dancing around to their parents' (or grandparents') LPs may get a kick - and learn something too - from this insightful picture-book bio of rocker Robbie Robertson, penned by his son.” —Booklist

“Gustavson's naturalistic oil paintings combine off-the-cuff moments with more iconic compositions that might have been pulled from dusty album covers.” —Publishers Weekly

Children's Literature - Vicki Foote
A biography of the life of Robbie Robertson, this book tells how this musician played guitar as a boy and then grew up to become a successful guitarist and songwriter. It describes how he was a Canadian whose mother was Mohawk and his father was a Jewish professional gambler. He spent time with his mother on the reservation and enjoyed the Mohawk’s melodies and storytelling. As a teenager, he formed his own band. He kept learning and eventually became the guitarist for the musical group “The Hawks.” He went on an international tour with Bob Dylan when rock and roll music was becoming popular. He began to write songs and created the song “The Weight.” His next group, named “The Band,” began a style of music referred to as “Americana Music.” A major highlight of his career was when they were featured on the cover of TIME magazine. Several pages contain an interview in which Robbie’s son, Sebastian, asks his dad interesting questions about his dad’s life. The illustrations, which are oil paintings, are rich in color and design throughout the book. There are also several photographs. The story and the artwork make this book an excellent choice for schools and libraries. Reviewer: Vicki Foote; Ages 9 to 12.
School Library Journal
09/01/2014
Gr 1–4—This attractive picture book biography profiles artist Robbie Robertson, founder of the Band, the group known for backing up Bob Dylan and for the songs "The Weight," "Up on Cripple Creek," and "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down." Written by Robbie Robertson's son, Sebastian, the book takes readers through Robbie's life, starting with his birth, covering his childhood in Toronto, development as a musician, and rise to fame, and ending in the mid-1970s with the Band's final performance. The use of dialogue adds to the appeal, keeping the tone lively and accessible. The tone is enthusiastic, bordering on worshipful at times ("It was now 1961 and people came from far and wide to hear the hottest, youngest guitar player around"). Gustavson's rich, nostalgia-tinged oil paintings will provoke plenty of smiles of recognition from adult rock fans, portraying as they do places such as the Brill Building, where Robbie met songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, and Big Pink, the house in Woodstock, New York, where the Band's most famous album was recorded, as well as artists with whom Robbie interacted, like Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, and, of course, Dylan. However, these details aren't likely to resonate with the intended audience, for whom the mere mention of Music from Big Pink and "The Last Waltz" won't conjure up beloved memories. Though this is a well-illustrated and nicely told story, the subject matter will limit its appeal.—Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
2014-08-20
Guitarist Robbie Robertson's son presents his father's journey to rock-'n'-roll fame. As a child of mixed Mohawk and Jewish heritage in Ontario, Canada, Robbie spent significant time on the reservation where his mother grew up. There, he was inspired by the vivid storytelling of the elders to become a storyteller himself. He was exposed to many instruments but fell in love with the guitar, which he practiced ferociously. By 16, Robbie was making music professionally. He left Canada for New York City and eventually became the lead guitarist for an established touring band. This experience paved the way for Robbie and his band mates, known simply as The Band, to set out creating their own distinctive sound, which incorporated Robbie's passion for storytelling in their lyrics. Robertson writes with an endearing tone of adoration and pride, although the narrative runs awfully long: Lengthy paragraphs include superfluous details that will likely lose the attention of young readers who are not already keen fans. The oil illustrations successfully capture time and place, and they incorporate some of the famous faces Robbie met along his way. The book is most likely to be appreciated in settings where children study musical pioneers—and when accompanied by recordings of The Band's music. A thorough chronicling of a musical trailblazer—though probably too thorough for most in the typical picture-book audience. (timeline, interview) (Picture book/biography. 7-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780805094732
Publisher:
Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date:
10/21/2014
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
623,057
Product dimensions:
8.60(w) x 11.40(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

Meet the Author

Like his father, Sebastian Robertson is a musician and accomplished songwriter. He has written many songs for major television series such as Felicity, Boston Public, Boston Common, and Sammy, and is on staff with MTV as a composer for non-scripted shows. He lives with his family in Los Angeles.
Adam Gustavson is the award-winning illustrator of over twenty books for children, including Just Kidding by Trudy Ludwig, Snow Day! by Lester L. Laminack, and the Charlie Bumpers series by Bill Harley. His childhood was shaped in no small part by his parents' extensive album collection, which included several records of The Band. Adam holds an MFA from the School of Visual Arts and teaches at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He lives in New Jersey with his family and several guitars.

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