Gus & Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitarby Keith Richards, Theodora Richards (Illustrator)
Long before there was a band, there was a boy: a young Keith Richards, who was introduced to the joy of music through his beloved granddad, Theodore Augustus Dupree, affectionately known as "Gus," who was in a jazz big band and is the namesake of Keith's daughter, Theodora Dupree Richards. Gus & Me offers a rare and intimate look into the childhood of/i>
Long before there was a band, there was a boy: a young Keith Richards, who was introduced to the joy of music through his beloved granddad, Theodore Augustus Dupree, affectionately known as "Gus," who was in a jazz big band and is the namesake of Keith's daughter, Theodora Dupree Richards. Gus & Me offers a rare and intimate look into the childhood of the legendary Keith Richards through this poignant and inspiring story that is lovingly illustrated with Theodora Richards's exquisite pen-and-ink collages. This unique autobiographical picture book honors the special bond between a grandfather and grandson and celebrates the artistic talents of the Richards family through the generations. It also includes selected photographs from the Richards family collection and an exclusive audio CD featuring bonus content.
Yes, it's a celebrity book—a very good one. Writing in an intimate, easygoing voice that blends the boyish with the avuncular, rock legend Richards pays tribute to his grandfather and role model, Theodore Augustus Dupree, a veteran musician who lived in a house "filled with instruments and cake." Gus is a mite footloose—he evades chores and once took young Keith on a ramble that ended so far from home that they had to spend the night under a tree. But he also introduces his grandson to the magic of a musical instrument workshop ("Men tested the guitar strings dinka-plink dinka plink.... And right then, right there, I fell in love with instruments"), bestows his prize guitar on Keith, and sets a high bar for musicianship (hearing Keith playing the complex instrumental "Malagueña," Gus remarks, "I think you're getting the hang of it"). Theodora Richards, Keith's daughter of Richards, contributes fluid, inked sketches and other freestyle graphic elements that exude love and spontaneity. The accompanying CD proves Richards is as adept at telling bedtime stories as he is performing on stage. Ages 3–6. (Sept.)
* "Theodora Richards, Keith's daughter, contributes fluid, inked sketches and other freestyle graphic elements that exude love and spontaneity. The accompanying CD proves Richards is as adept at telling bedtime stories as he is performing on stage."Publishers Weekly, starred review"
This rocks, though the effect is more like being rocked in a grandparent's arms."Booklist"
Beautifully told."The New York Times
K-Gr 2—Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has penned a poignant picture book depicting his close relationship with his grandfather Gus. The author is keenly aware that his musical accomplishments will mean little to the book's target audience and focuses entirely on his childhood, rather than on his later career. Back matter gives readers some basics on his life, including the charmingly humble statement "Keith later began playing in a band with a group of friends, including Mick Jagger. They called themselves the Rolling Stones." He relates his experiences spending time with Gus, who took the boy on walks and gave him his first guitar, which started a lifelong passion for music. There's little of the hilariously snarky Keith that adult readers will know from his autobiography, Life (Little, Brown, 2011); written in free verse, the text is tender, though never cloying, and both the author's love for music and his grandfather come through. Loose black-and-white pen-and-ink illustrations, done by Keith's daughter, affectionately depict the title characters, as well as the various objects in their orbit (musical instruments, Big Ben, tea kettles, a double-decker bus), while backgrounds provide rich washes of purples, blues, yellows, and green, emphasizing the beauty and the sense of magic of the music. A gentle story celebrating the importance of family.—Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal
What makes music the heart and center of a life? In this case, it is a grandfather who lives in a house full of "instruments and cake." When Keith visits his granddad Gus, they walk everywhere, and Gus hums tunes and symphonies as they wander through towns and villages—even all the way to London. In the workshop of a music store there, Keith is taken by the guitars. When he is tall enough, Gus promises, Keith can have the guitar that sits on top of the piano in his house. When that moment comes, Gus teaches Keith "Malagueña," because then he "can play anything." This is all told so naturally and with such sweet verve that readers may not notice that this is the legendary guitarist of the Rolling Stones. The vibrant and evocative pictures are done by Richards' daughter, named for her great-grandfather. Over swathes of rich color she lays pen-and-ink drawings of figures and instruments, architectural details, free-floating musical notes—and cakes and tea things—that brilliantly carry the power of love and music into visual imagery. A CD of the author reading the story and playing a bit of "Malagueña" is included, and it is pretty wonderful, too. A beautiful example of artistic bookmaking, a story of family love and lore, and the magic of music personified in a way that's utterly accessible to children—and their dazzled parents. (biographical note, photographs) (Picture book. 4-10)
- Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
- Publication date:
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 9.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.50(d)
- Age Range:
- 3 - 8 Years
Meet the Author
Keith Richards is a musician, singer, songwriter, and founding member of the rock band the Rolling Stones. Widely considered one of the best guitarists in the world, he has a collection of over 350 guitars. His memoir, Life, received unanimous critical acclaim and was a #1 New York Times bestseller. Mr. Richards has five children and five grandchildren.
Theodora Dupree Richards, named after her great-grandfather Theodore Augustus Dupree, is an artist and a daughter of Keith Richards and Patti Hansen. To research the images for this project, she traveled to the Richards family home in Dartford, England, and consulted family and historical photographs of her father's childhood era. This is her first book.
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Who'd have thought that the wildman who gave us When the Whip Comes Down and Let’s Spend the Night Together could also tell such a gentle, evocative tale? Keith Richards writes about his grandfather Gus — a bandleader whose house was filled with “instruments and cake” — and the meandering walks they’d take together through the streets of London and its outskirts. Stones fans will love Gus & Me because it reveals how young Keef developed his love for music. But even if the book wasn’t about Richards (and even if the playful illustrations hadn’t been drawn by his daughter and even if the accompanying CD didn’t feature Keith reading the story! in the perfect bedtime voice), it’s simply a wonderful book for children, a book about the lasting gift that a grandfather gave to his grandson.
A charming nostalgic little book a great read for any child
I heard about this book when Keith Richards was being interviewed on T.V. when it was first released. I loved the multi-generational aspect of the entire project and bought two copies, one for our 6 year old grandson who is part of a very musically oriented family and is taking piano lessons right now and will likely move on to other instruments, and one for our son-in-law who plans on teaching guitar to his yet-to-be-born baby.
If you are Keith Richards fan, this is truly a must purchase! For me, growing up in Dartford, Kent at the time the Rolling Stones were beginng their journey, this book is also part of my history and has become a favorite of my granddaughter, she loves the story but most of all the illustrations. Thanks Gus for pointing Keith in the right direction all those years ago!!
Who knew Keith Richards could write? And a touching and cute book it is for anyone interested in playing the guitar and learning how his grandpa steered him in that direction. The CD goes along with it for the child who is too young to read. A keepsake book, in my opinion.