Blue Grass Boy: The Story of Bill Monroe, Father of Bluegrass Music Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-07-03 
Review Score: 5 out of 5 star From 0 user ratings

"Music lovers will feel like organizing a barn dance when they read this picture book biography of Bill Monroe. The author traces the birth of bluegrass music from Monroe's childhood in Kentucky to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. Participating in a "sundown jamboree" with his family, Bill would hear jigs, hymns, and ballads. But he also listened to the sounds of nature and learned to play a mandolin. He refined his skills playing at hillside dances and picked up the rhythms of the blues. Everywhere he went he kept his ears open to new sounds and styles, and finally he put them all together to make something new - bluegrass. And the rest is history.

The text flows along like the songs of a homey bluegrass tune. And the illustrations have a down-home simplicity which fits perfectly with the subject. Several images are especially eye-catching. One shows Willie as a young boy with his eyes crossed and sounds (pictured as zigzagging lines), filling his ears. Another shows an antique radio on a U.S. map, with Monroe's band standing on top, and many small figures across the country dancing to the music coming from the radio's speakers. That especially captures the reach and appeal of bluegrass music.

Back matter includes more factual details and black and white photos of Monroe's life. An extensive bibliography, source notes, and picture and text credits give readers places to look if they want to learn more. And a final page features a large photo above the lyrics to the song, "Uncle Pen," written in remembrance of Bill's uncle.

Highly recommended for elementary school libraries and public library children's collections. Good for early grade biography projects, music appreciation and history units, and enjoying pieces of American cultural history.

I received a copy of the book from the publisher for review purposes.

" said.

" I love me some Bluegrass music. This is a fabulous fabulous book. I HIGHLY recommend to children of all ages. " said.

" Picture book biography about the life of Bill Monroe. Includes historical information about the blue grass singer. " said.

" A solid biography of bluegrass musician Bill Monore, delightful cartoon-like illustrations " said.

" The storytelling, in the oral sense of the word, was fabulous: "Willie was the youngest, following his seven brothers and sisters like a runt pup squirming to fit in." I felt like I was sitting on a Kentucky porch listening to a story of Bill Monroe's life. I just wish someone had been playing a banjo next to me while I read it. " said.

" I did not know that one person is credited with creating blue grass music. But then, I learn the most interesting things from picture books. This one has a folksy appeal that invites the reader to settle right in and feel comfortable - but not too comfortable because there is some sadness here too. The illustrations are cartoonish but there's a richness to the color that elevates it. The backmatter includes black and white photos, extra information, a bibliography and source notes. " said.

"This appealing picture book biography traces the life of Bill Monroe, widely thought to be the father of Bluegrass music. From his country roots in Kentucky, to the big time in Nashville, readers get a feel for the times and Monroe's influences and challenges. I like that his visual handicap is reframed as almost an auditory superpower. The country music that morphed into bluegrass is set in the times successfully for those not familiar with it, and the exuberant and bright digital illustrations show nuances of feeling as well as the steps Monroe took to success. Readers will be inspired to listen to Monroe, and maybe even pick up a mandolin, fiddle or banjo. Back matter adds more biographical information, photographs, a bibliography and notes.

" said.

" Picture book biography about the life of Bill Monroe. Includes historical information about the blue grass singer. " said.

July 2018 New Book:

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