Books by Pete Seeger

THE DEAF MUSICIANS by Pete Seeger
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 1, 2006

After losing his hearing, a piano man finds new musical life. Lee plays piano with a combo at a jazz club. One night, his bandmates notice that he's not hearing their notes; he's afraid to admit that he's losing his hearing. Eventually, the combo has to let him go. On the subway, Lee spots an ad for a school for the deaf. It's a very cool place, and he finds he loves sign language. He and his new friends from the school have jam sessions, using sign language instead of instruments. They practice regularly; when they add a singer named Ellie, they've got a hot new combo that entertains commuters in the subway station. Lee's happy again, as a deaf musician. Seeger and Jacobs' hep narrative is studded with phonic gems ("Bomp," "Phip," "Doodle-bop-bop"), and Christie's colorful paintings have a strong 1950s feel. An unusual story, both stylish and uplifting. (author note) (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2005

Not as satisfying in word or illustration as the classic French Stone Soup by Marcia Brown or the Swedish Nail Soup by Margot and Harve Zemach, the lyrics included distinguish this retelling from others. Set in Germany, a single soldier tricks a town full of people into supplying the ingredients for a tasty soup. Trickery is downplayed but as each ingredient is added, the children announce the addition with a burst of song. Hays's acrylic illustrations on canvas are realistic but relatively static in their depiction of the villagers and the action. Although lacking in the richness of earlier retellings, this version, with music, will have its fans. This will be a marginal purchase for all but the largest of libraries. (includes CD) (Folktale. 4-8)Read full book review >
TURN! TURN! TURN! by Pete Seeger
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2003

The title of Pete Seeger's best-known song is also the best way to view Halperin's art; for each line of lyrics, she offers a circular painting, composed in the round and containing dozens of microscopically precise vignettes exemplifying the given idea. The whirl of human, animal, and imaginary figures makes mesmerizing viewing: "A time to die," for instance, is bordered by multiple scenes of predators, prey, and predation in sequence; what three pigs "build up," a huffing, puffing wolf breaks down; and dozens of children, each a distinct individual, hold hands in a great arch over the final promise. Seeger himself makes occasional appearances in the pictures, and adds a closing account of how—and why—the song came to be written. Halperin is in top form here, creating a worthy, engrossing exegesis for the timeless wisdom of Ecclesiastes. Packaged with musical arrangement, and a CD with versions of the song by Seeger and the Byrds. (Picture book. 7-9)Read full book review >
ONE GRAIN OF SAND by Pete Seeger
BEDTIME BOOK
Released: Aug. 1, 2003

Folksinger Seeger's gentle lullaby, made up for his youngest daughter nearly 50 years ago, is brought to life in a different way by Wingerter's rich and warm acrylics. Seeger offers a brief introduction and a few bars of music, while encouraging "readers and singers" to expand on the words or the tune. "One grain of sand in all the world. . . . One little boy, one little girl," it begins, and Wingerter takes the entire world as her canvas. Misty blue hills with a boy and his donkey, a blonde girl with a Scandinavian stave church in the background, a small sailing ship on an emerald/turquoise sea near a lighthouse, all expand and reflect the simple lyrics, as in "One grain of sand, / One drop of water in the sea, / . . . One little you, one little me." Human and animal parents in emotionally resonant settings (peering out of nighttime windows, tucking children into bed, a gallop of horses young and old racing in the rain) illuminate the simple lyrics beautifully, making a lovely bedtime read-aloud whether sung or spoken. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
ABIYOYO RETURNS by Pete Seeger
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 1, 2001

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they've cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just "Zoop Zoop" him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo's destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: "every community must learn to manage its giants." Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)Read full book review >