cover image Fiddlin' Sam

Fiddlin' Sam

Rising Moon, Marianna Dengler. Rising Moon Books, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-87358-742-6

Dengler and Gerig, creators of The Worry Stone, team up for a poignant, ultimately uplifting tale of a wandering bard. Sam, a fiddler, travels contentedly from town to town, entertaining people with his music in exchange for bread and board. But he has another mission in life as well, as his father once told him, ""This ain't a gift, Son. It's a loan. You gotta pass the music along."" As the years pass and Sam grows older, he despairs of finding a worthy successor. Then one day a boy appears who can fill Sam's shoes and who takes the story full circle; the camera fades on a new fiddler walking the Ozark hills. Dengler depicts the cycle of the seasons, while creating a sense of timelessness, with poetic refrains (""He fiddled high, and he fiddled low. He fiddled fast, and he fiddled slow. His prancing bow kept the beat""). Gerig may dip her brush a bit too often in a sunrise palette of pinks and lavenders, but her realistic landscapes evoke the Ozark setting, and her sensitive portraits, particularly those of Sam, bring the fiddler as well as his heir apparent to life. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)