cover image This Land is Your Land

This Land is Your Land

Woody Guthrie, Kathy Jakobsen. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-316-39215-0

From California to the New York island, readers of all ages will be singing the praises of this picture-book tribute to a legendary folk musician and one of his best-known compositions. The popular version of the song, which Guthrie recorded in 1949, omitted some of Guthrie's original lyrics. Restored here, those verses broaden the song, transforming it to an anthem for the downtrodden: ""In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people;/ By the relief office I seen my people;/ As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking,/ Is this land made for you and me?"" Acclaimed folk artist Jakobsen's (My New York) expansive, sparkling oil landscapes depict the natural beauty of the country--a stand of redwoods, a country campground, etc. In several multi-paneled spreads, Guthrie stars as wandering troubadour, carrying his guitar from coast to coast and landmark to landmark (all clearly labeled). These spreads are bordered with geometric designs inspired by traditional ""tramp art"" carvings, while their corners contain hand-lettered snippets of Guthrie lyrics and quotes. One memorable page features a star-studded cast of musicians who have performed Guthrie's songs over the years and also a roster of artists who played at a Woody Guthrie tribute concert in 1996, all of whom are identified in small print. As an added bonus, the final pages contain a tribute from fellow singer/songwriter Pete Seeger; a brief biography of Guthrie, illustrated with black-and-white family photographs; and complete music and lyrics to ""This Land Is Your Land."" This beautiful homage to America and to a favorite folksinger is sure to be a family treasure. All ages. (Sept.)