In late summer, there is music to be heard in the West Virginia hills. People come from all around to listen to this old fiddler. One August, a young boy gets up the courage to play a tune and ask the old man to teach him more. The fiddler and the boy spend the day together. After the farm chores are done, they play music. Not long after that, the family moves to the county right next door. The boy and the fiddler become friends and, as he learns all of the old tunes, they travel to festivals to play. This is the true story of Melvin Wine and Jake Krack.
This story makes me want to go find some of these old songs and here Melvin and Jake play. The illustrations are nice, but the story of friendship and tradition, especially how it crosses generations, is what makes this book special. Although I understand the poetic preference, I wish the author had made the story more personal by using the men's names. Readers will get lots of information in the back, but won't get an explanation of the reference to the Tennessee hills when the men lived in West Virginia.
Friendship across the ages will fill readers' hearts and leave you with a warm feeling when you finish the story.
This is a picture book biography for elementary audiences.
This story offers a "concrete" example of what a tradition is and how it works. It also can show children that they can learn from others. The Resources page in the back includes lists of different types of media as well as a selection of websites.
10 and Up
5 and Up
Borrow. The story is definitely worth finding and sharing. Be sure to get some music to go along with it.