The Old Man and the Fiddle

The Old Man and the Fiddle

by Michael McCurdy

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A rollicking, sing-song text is paired with lively, colored woodcuts in this unusual book. The words flow from page to page as freely and happily as the old man plays his fiddle. Over and over echoes the joyful refrain: ``Everything's right when the music is loud.'' The story concerns the old man's neighbors, who complain about the shoddy state of his house and the incessant noise of his animals as they dance to his fiddling. But their grumbling serves only to land them literally in a heap, when the ramshackle house is washed away in a flood. (All ends happily, of course, with the music maker exuberantly unrepentant.) This wonderfully nonsensical work--itself as engaging as a folk tune--begs to be read aloud. Though the emotive artwork here shines more brightly than the story, the overall spirit never flags. As in McCurdy's earlier illustrations for American Tall Tales (Knopf), here he masterfully blends caricatures and folk literature. Ages 4-8. (June)
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-- Subtly colored and stylishly homespun, McCurdy's woodcuts are superb. They showcase an old man whose raucous fiddling and slovenly ways exasperate his neighbors. He deflects all their efforts to help or reform him. Rambunctious animals add to the mayhem. For the first few pages, this rollicking bit of nonsense appears to be going somewhere, perhaps poking fun at stuffiness or conventionality while upholding artistic waywardness. However, the neighbors aren't pompous, just concerned and helpful, and the the old man is not championing art but noise. The potential reprise of Aesop's ``Grasshopper and the Ants'' is turned on its head when a storm comes along; the fiddler (who has refused to fix his roof because it wasn't raining) is blown away. Just as the neighbors are ready with their chorus of we-told-you-so, they are chilled to hear him playing from the next valley. This slight story is told in verse that trips along less gracefully than the old man's fiddling. McCurdy is a fine illustrator, but his vivacious and skillful woodcuts do not adorn a text of equal merit. --Patricia Dooley, University of Washington, Seattle

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Product Details

Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
20.00(w) x 20.00(h) x 20.00(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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