In the world of American folk music, Pete Seeger stood tall and proud in his unflinching, lifelong commitment to human rights and dignity.
Reich opens with a typical Seeger sing-along moment and then proceeds to trace his childhood, when his father exposed him to the troubles of the Great Depression. A trip to North Carolina introduced him to the five-string banjo. The following years produce a litany of musical activity, with Alan Lomax, Woody Guthrie, the Almanac Singers, and the Weavers. Then came years of blacklisting and Seeger’s steadfast refusal to accede to Congressional scare tactics. Protests against the Vietnam War, support of the civil rights struggle, and then a commitment to clean up the Hudson River kept his music steadily flowing. He remains a powerful influence on many musicians and left a legacy of children’s songs and protest songs that should be part of everyone’s listening. In his passionate and timely foreword, Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul & Mary exhorts readers to follow Seeger's "spirit" and "turn challenge and adversity into greater determination and love for one another." Gustavson’s digitized gouache, watercolor, pencil, and oil paintings offer scenes from Seeger’s life in both full-page color and spot-art accompaniments.
While not a comprehensive treatment of Seeger’s life, this is an excellent introduction; read and sing along—loudly. (author’s note, quotation sources, selected sources) (Picture book/biography. 7-12)