A prose song celebrates Pete Seeger’s inestimable contribution to American music and social justice.
Meloy, musician and songwriter for the Decembrists, honors the long career of this remarkable activist in words that sing and soar in joyful homage. The text, presented as poetry or song lyrics, begs to be read aloud from its opening phrases: “I heard there was a golden thread / A shining magic thing / That bounded up our little world / —I HEARD PETE SEEGER SING!” Meloy covers the big moments in Seeger’s life: banjo-playing at union rallies and while in the Army in World War II, performing with the Weavers, the decade of McCarthy-era blacklisting, the Newport Folk Festival, the Hudson River sloop Clearwater. McClure’s detailed, cut–black-paper illustrations, highlighted with ribbons of gold-yellow paper containing lyrics from Seeger’s songs, have the look of woodcuts, lending folk-art and mid-20th-century flavors to the pages. Seeger’s iconic tools, a banjo and his wood-chopping axe, appear as a crossed design on the cover. There is a warmth and energy in the use of just the two colors that leaves room for the narrative to convey, in the words of the title song, the “rainbow design” in Seeger’s rich gift of music and advocacy. A timeline covering Seeger’s nine decades, a list of recordings, author’s and illustrator’s notes, and an adult-directed bibliography offer additional depth.
Positively joyous. (Picture book/biography. 4-10)