What makes music the heart and center of a life? In this case, it is a grandfather who lives in a house full of “instruments and cake.”
When Keith visits his granddad Gus, they walk everywhere, and Gus hums tunes and symphonies as they wander through towns and villages—even all the way to London. In the workshop of a music store there, Keith is taken by the guitars. When he is tall enough, Gus promises, Keith can have the guitar that sits on top of the piano in his house. When that moment comes, Gus teaches Keith “Malagueña,” because then he “can play anything.” This is all told so naturally and with such sweet verve that readers may not notice that this is the legendary guitarist of the Rolling Stones. The vibrant and evocative pictures are done by Richards’ daughter, named for her great-grandfather. Over swathes of rich color she lays pen-and-ink drawings of figures and instruments, architectural details, free-floating musical notes—and cakes and tea things—that brilliantly carry the power of love and music into visual imagery. A CD of the author reading the story and playing a bit of “Malagueña” is included, and it is pretty wonderful, too.
A beautiful example of artistic bookmaking, a story of family love and lore, and the magic of music personified in a way that’s utterly accessible to children—and their dazzled parents. (biographical note, photographs) (Picture book. 4-10)