I’m a big fan of historical nonfiction, especially when it’s in picture book form. So I was very excited when I received a review copy of When Bob Met Woody: The Story of the Young Bob Dylan, by Gary Golio.
When Bob met Woody is a quaint and quiet book about Bob Zimmerman – aka, Bob Dylan, and his slow but steady rise to fame as a musical icon. The book begins with Bob’s humble birth and follows his poetic spirit and musician’s soul through the early years when he was teased for being Jewish, and misunderstood for his desire to play music. There are quaint anecdotes about Bob staging “concerts” – i.e., performing songs in front of his family; Bob all by his lonesome under a street lamp light until the wee hours of the morning, honing his guitar skills; and Bob listening to the music of Elvis Presly, Hank Williams, and even the forbidden music of African American singer Muddy Waters, all while dreaming of being a star.
This is a lovely book, inside and out. When it comes to celebrities, we often see only the finished product; the wealthy, successful, sought-after icon that we admire, adore and have the teeniest bit of envy for. But nonfiction books like this one tear down the barriers that prevent fans from identifying with celebrities; they teach us that our idols had humble beginnings, just like us; dreamed of fame and fortune, just like us; were misunderstood, just like us; and wouldn’t allow themselves to stop pushing toward their dreams and goals….just like us.
I highly recommend this book to all picture book readers, young and old. Dylan’s life is told in warm, manageable chunks, and at just the right pace to keep it interesting. Author Gary Golio’s writing style is age-appropriate and to-the-point, and has just enough whimsy to leave readers feeling like they’re experiencing the life story of a close friend or relative.
Of course, this review would not be complete without mentioning artist Marc Burckhardt’s lovely illustrations. Beginning with the breathtaking cover, Burckhardt splashes each page with a burst of warm pastels that will have readers flipping back through the pages to get another eye-full, long after the story is finished.
If you’re a fan of historical nonfiction and love discovering tidbits about your favorite stars, don’t miss When Bob Met Woody, by Gary Golio. It’s a great book with “all-around” potential, and should do well in the history or music classroom, the public or school library, or your child’s personal library.
Best wishes and happy reading,
PICTURE BOOK DEPOT