cover image The Golden Thread: A Song for Pete Seeger

The Golden Thread: A Song for Pete Seeger

Colin Meloy, illus. by Nikki McClure. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-06-236825-6

In Meloy (the Wildwood Chronicles) and McClure’s (The Great Chicken Escape) gorgeous, emotionally expansive book, the “golden thread”—a reference to Seeger’s hymn of reconciliation, “Oh, Had I a Golden Thread”—becomes a literal and figurative narrative line that follows Seeger’s life. The book traces his story from his beginnings in a family of traveling musicians to his global renown as a folk icon, activist, and writer-arranger of quintessential American songs. Meloy, who is also a member of the band The Decemberists, hails his hero in emphatic, lyric-like poetry. Recalling Seeger’s testimony during the McCarthy era, Meloy writes: “Pete was then sent to a senator’s court/ And thereupon angrily asked to report/ About all his doings and political leanings/ And did any of his songs have nefarious meanings?/ All this just to settle political scores/ But Pete, he just said: ‘It’s no business of yours.’/ Which it wasn’t!/ Still isn’t!” McClure, a masterful cut-paper artist, creates her images from sheets of black and gold and punctuates them with a continuous, undulating golden line inscribed with famous lyrics from Seeger’s songs. The dynamic spreads evoke both the historic heft of vintage newspaper photography and the soaring beauty of righteous, joyous song. Ages 4–8. [em](Apr.) [/em]