cover image Old Man and the Fiddle

Old Man and the Fiddle

Michael McCurdy. Putnam Publishing Group, $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-399-21812-5

A rollicking, sing-song text is paired with lively, colored woodcuts in this unusual book. The words flow from page to page as freely and happily as the old man plays his fiddle. Over and over echoes the joyful refrain: ``Everything's right when the music is loud.'' The story concerns the old man's neighbors, who complain about the shoddy state of his house and the incessant noise of his animals as they dance to his fiddling. But their grumbling serves only to land them literally in a heap, when the ramshackle house is washed away in a flood. (All ends happily, of course, with the music maker exuberantly unrepentant.) This wonderfully nonsensical work--itself as engaging as a folk tune--begs to be read aloud. Though the emotive artwork here shines more brightly than the story, the overall spirit never flags. As in McCurdy's earlier illustrations for American Tall Tales (Knopf), here he masterfully blends caricatures and folk literature. Ages 4-8. (June)