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PASSING THE MUSIC DOWN by Sarah Sullivan

PASSING THE MUSIC DOWN

By Sarah Sullivan (Author) , Barry Root (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: May 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7636-3753-8
Publisher: Candlewick

Sullivan reverently celebrates a musical apprenticeship that spans generations in this poetic narrative based on a real-life relationship and punctuated by the titular phrase. A boy with a penchant for “old timey” music travels with his violin and his parents from Indiana to West Virginia to hear and see a legendary fiddler. As the family draws closer geographically to the boy’s new mentor, the narrative gently moves back and forth from their initial meeting to the boy's family "putting down roots / in the next county over." The pair shares farm chores as well as hours of musical tutelage and accompaniment. Seasons pass, then years: At the elder’s deathbed, the now-teenage youth murmurs, “ ‘I’ll do just like I promised, / I’ll teach folks all your tunes. / There’s a part of you that / will always be around.’ / Passing the music down.”  Root’s sun-dappled watercolor-and-gouache illustrations lovingly depict rural West Virginia’s farms and fairs along with the respectful interplay between a twosome knit together by a deep-seated commitment to musical folkways. Sullivan’s notes, on Melvin Wine and Jake Krack and the tunes, round out a lovely, resonant offering. (resources) (Picture book. 5-8)