When Bob Met Woody: The Story of the Young Bob Dylan

Gary Golio, illus. by Marc Burckhardt. Little, Brown, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-11299-4
How do you explain Bob Dylan to a generation raised on Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber? With lyrical, plainspoken writing that echoes folk music itself, Golio (Jimi: Sounds Like a Rainbow) portrays the young Dylan as a teenager driven by both his music ("He'd fall asleep with the guitar in his lap, and he'd even forget to bathe or brush his teeth") and his sense of alienation ("Teased for being Jewish, for being different, Bob kept his angry feelings locked inside"). Dylan's determination to find a "bigger, brighter world" and his belief that Guthrie and his music are "the North Star" gives the narrative momentum that propels the story to its final pages, where an ailing Guthrie gives the young troubadour his blessing. Burckhardt's (Daddy Loves His Little Girl) crackle-texture, generously scaled acrylics mix stirring portraiture with murallike iconography (a Guthrie LP rises like a sun from the rolling Minnesota hills). Although this book is probably best enjoyed in the presence of a grown-up Dylan fan, children should come away understanding that not every performer needs spectacle to make an indelible impression. Ages 8–12. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/14/2011
Release date: 05/01/2011
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