A warmhearted ode to an American musical tradition and to generational ties, told in lyrical free verse with atmospheric illustrations
A young boy travels to the hills of Appalachia to meet the old-time fiddle player whose music he has admired, and so sparks a friendship that will forge a bond between generations. The boy develops under the man’s care and instruction, just as seedlings grow with spring rain and summer sun. From playing on the front porch to performing at folk festivals, the two carry on the tradition of passing the music down. This touching, lyrical story, inspired by the lives of renowned fiddlers Melvin Wine and Jake Krack, includes an author’s note and suggested resources for learning about the musicians and the music they love.
About the Author
Barry Root has illustrated many books, including Paul Fleischman’s The Birthday Tree and Ted Kooser’s Bag in the Wind. He lives in Pennsylvania.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Music is an art form that traditionally is shared with the young by older musicians - classroom music teachers, choir leaders, individual instrument instructors, parents, relatives, etc. Then when the child exhibits a true talent, more intense training is begun. But it is still something that is passed along. It is shared. It is taught. The fervor is shared and contagious. In Passing the Music Down, the author has recorded in beautifully expressive lyrical language the true story of Melvin Wine, aged Appalachian fiddler, and young Jake Krack who greatly desires to play the fiddler just like Mr. Wine. So Jake's parents take the boy to hear the fiddler and to play for the aged fiddler. Then the fiddler invites the boy to come visit and learn from him. They visit and finally they move nearby. The boy spends much time around the fiddler's homeplace helping with daily chores and then they relax in the evening on the porch and play their fiddles. This beautifully illustrated book takes you to the hills of West Virginia shrouded in mist resplendent in beauty. You see the age and gentleness of the old fiddler and the hope and desire of the young boy. You see the comfort of a warm fire and the joy of the moment. Their lives are stitched together in a quilt of old-time tunes. Passing the music down. This is a lovely book that should be in the collection of every elementary school and public library. DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy of the book was provided by Candlewick for the purpose of this review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. No compensation was received for this review.
This is a great book with perfect depiction of Appalachia. Loved it! The true story is great and the illustrator's art perfectly matches the story.