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Passing the Music Down

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A warmhearted ode to an American musical tradition and to generational ties, told in lyrical free verse with atmospheric illustrations A young boy travels to the hills of Appalachia to meet the old-time fiddle player whose music he has admired, and so sparks a friendship that will forge a bond between generations. The boy develops under the man’s care and instruction, just A warmhearted ode to an American musical tradition and to generational ties, told in lyrical free verse with atmospheric illustrations A young boy travels to the hills of Appalachia to meet the old-time fiddle player whose music he has admired, and so sparks a friendship that will forge a bond between generations. The boy develops under the man’s care and instruction, just as seedlings grow with spring rain and summer sun. From playing on the front porch to performing at folk festivals, the two carry on the tradition of passing the music down. This touching, lyrical story, inspired by the lives of renowned fiddlers Melvin Wine and Jake Krack, includes an author’s note and suggested resources for learning about the musicians and the music they love.


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A warmhearted ode to an American musical tradition and to generational ties, told in lyrical free verse with atmospheric illustrations A young boy travels to the hills of Appalachia to meet the old-time fiddle player whose music he has admired, and so sparks a friendship that will forge a bond between generations. The boy develops under the man’s care and instruction, just A warmhearted ode to an American musical tradition and to generational ties, told in lyrical free verse with atmospheric illustrations A young boy travels to the hills of Appalachia to meet the old-time fiddle player whose music he has admired, and so sparks a friendship that will forge a bond between generations. The boy develops under the man’s care and instruction, just as seedlings grow with spring rain and summer sun. From playing on the front porch to performing at folk festivals, the two carry on the tradition of passing the music down. This touching, lyrical story, inspired by the lives of renowned fiddlers Melvin Wine and Jake Krack, includes an author’s note and suggested resources for learning about the musicians and the music they love.

30 review for Passing the Music Down

  1. 5 out of 5

    Brent

    This is about an old West Virginia fiddler, the great Melvin Wine, and his young apprentice Jake. I knew Melvin through the Augusta Heritage Center and workshops at Davis & Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia. I played a hymn tune he would play yesterday, "I'd Rather be an Old Time Christian." Melvin deserves this fine book about his musical friendship, and all celebration of his sprightly, lively music. I am grateful to our local Atlanta-Fulton Public Library for loaning me this book, which I This is about an old West Virginia fiddler, the great Melvin Wine, and his young apprentice Jake. I knew Melvin through the Augusta Heritage Center and workshops at Davis & Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia. I played a hymn tune he would play yesterday, "I'd Rather be an Old Time Christian." Melvin deserves this fine book about his musical friendship, and all celebration of his sprightly, lively music. I am grateful to our local Atlanta-Fulton Public Library for loaning me this book, which I had overlooked in the last five years. Highly recommended.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    A boy with a gift for the fiddle is taken many miles away to an old time fiddler for lessons. The boy learns many things from the old fiddler, including how to be an excellent fiddler. Beautiful pictures and poetic text make this a lovely picture book. “And when the work is done, they sit out on the porch. The old man tunes his fiddle, and the boy leans in close. They play ‘Bonaparte’s Retreat’ and ‘Yew Piney Mountain,’ tunes older than the towns the boy traveled through, tunes old as the mist and A boy with a gift for the fiddle is taken many miles away to an old time fiddler for lessons. The boy learns many things from the old fiddler, including how to be an excellent fiddler. Beautiful pictures and poetic text make this a lovely picture book. “And when the work is done, they sit out on the porch. The old man tunes his fiddle, and the boy leans in close. They play ‘Bonaparte’s Retreat’ and ‘Yew Piney Mountain,’ tunes older than the towns the boy traveled through, tunes old as the mist and twisty as the roads.”

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tricia

    Good choice for those seeking picture books for elementary on Appalachian music. Inspired by the lives of Melvin Wine and Jack Krack, who performed together on their fiddles despite an age difference of over 70 years. Warmly illustrated.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mary Lee

    The importance of keeping folk knowledge alive. Needs a cd of music to truly do its work.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Eva

    Can you imagine wanting to learn fiddle music so much that you sell your home and move to another state? That’s what happened in this true story. When a young boy from Indiana dreams of learning from the best fiddle player in the country, his mom finds a way to move the family to West Virginia to live close to this talented fiddler. The boy trained with the old man, and after his teacher’s death continued to teach tunes to the next generation of fiddle lovers that he learned from his teacher. Th Can you imagine wanting to learn fiddle music so much that you sell your home and move to another state? That’s what happened in this true story. When a young boy from Indiana dreams of learning from the best fiddle player in the country, his mom finds a way to move the family to West Virginia to live close to this talented fiddler. The boy trained with the old man, and after his teacher’s death continued to teach tunes to the next generation of fiddle lovers that he learned from his teacher. This book is about the passion for music, passing the music tradition down to later generations, and the power of the parents' love for their child. After you read it, listen to the fiddle tunes mentioned in the book. You can read more @ https://kidminds.org/books-for-kids-w...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Terry

    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. 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.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Peacegal

    Evocative, inspiring picture book celebrating the joy and power of music to tie together the generations. Appalachian readers will especially appreciate this one.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Miss Sarah

    The realtionship between a two musicians one old and one young who both play the fiddle. Nice author afterward about the real story. Elementary and up

  9. 4 out of 5

    Laurel Kathleen

    Another tear-jerking true story about love and music! Gah. Still sniffling.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Vera Godley

    Music is an art form that traditionally is shared with the young by older musicians - classroom music teachers, choir leaders, individual instrument instructors, parents, relatives, etc. Then when the child exhibits a true talent, more intense training is begun. But it is still something that is passed along. It is shared. It is taught. The fervor is shared and contagious. In Passing the Music Down, the author has recorded in beautifully expressive lyrical language the true story of Melvin Wine, Music is an art form that traditionally is shared with the young by older musicians - classroom music teachers, choir leaders, individual instrument instructors, parents, relatives, etc. Then when the child exhibits a true talent, more intense training is begun. But it is still something that is passed along. It is shared. It is taught. The fervor is shared and contagious. In Passing the Music Down, the author has recorded in beautifully expressive lyrical language the true story of Melvin Wine, aged Appalachian fiddler, and young Jake Krack who greatly desires to play the fiddler just like Mr. Wine. So Jake's parents take the boy to hear the fiddler and to play for the aged fiddler. Then the fiddler invites the boy to come visit and learn from him. They visit and finally they move nearby. The boy spends much time around the fiddler's homeplace helping with daily chores and then they relax in the evening on the porch and play their fiddles. This beautifully illustrated book takes you to the hills of West Virginia shrouded in mist resplendent in beauty. You see the age and gentleness of the old fiddler and the hope and desire of the young boy. You see the comfort of a warm fire and the joy of the moment. Their lives are stitched together in a quilt of old-time tunes. Passing the music down. This is a lovely book that should be in the collection of every elementary school and public library. DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy of the book was provided by Candlewick for the purpose of this review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. No compensation was received for this review. at 1:31 PM 0 comments Links to this post

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kyra Calnan

    A true story told in beautifully descriptive words and colorful illustrations about a man and a boy who share their love of playing the fiddle! The man becomes the little boy’s mentor and he teaches him his fiddle, traditional folk music, and the way he lives on his peaceful farm. They become so close the boy moves an hour away just to be able to spend more time with the man. Though the mentor eventually passes away, he successfully passed down the music to the boy who goes on to play all the am A true story told in beautifully descriptive words and colorful illustrations about a man and a boy who share their love of playing the fiddle! The man becomes the little boy’s mentor and he teaches him his fiddle, traditional folk music, and the way he lives on his peaceful farm. They become so close the boy moves an hour away just to be able to spend more time with the man. Though the mentor eventually passes away, he successfully passed down the music to the boy who goes on to play all the amazing shows the man had before. This perspective on the different cultures from one city kid to a country man, an younger boy and an older gentlemen gives great perspective on interaction between these two different age and lifestyle cultures. After the story, the author details the true basis behind the story, being the famous folk music artist Melvin Wine who inspired young player Jake Krack. He first heard Wine play in the summer of 1995, and they remained best friends and fiddler partners for the rest of Wine’s life, truly passing on the legacy!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Antoinette Evans

    Passing Down the Music is a heartfelt true story of a friendship that forms between a younger individual and an elder man who play the fiddle. The elderly man's name was Melvin Wine and the younger boy's name was Jack Krack. What brought them together was folk music, heritage and Melvin's willingness to pass down his love of music to a new generation. This would make for a great book for grandparents to read to their grandchildren or parents to read to their children. This story contains magnifi Passing Down the Music is a heartfelt true story of a friendship that forms between a younger individual and an elder man who play the fiddle. The elderly man's name was Melvin Wine and the younger boy's name was Jack Krack. What brought them together was folk music, heritage and Melvin's willingness to pass down his love of music to a new generation. This would make for a great book for grandparents to read to their grandchildren or parents to read to their children. This story contains magnificent illustrations that are colorful and descriptive and makes for a perfect picture book to include in a classroom. Music is such a big part of many individual's lives just as books are. They can make you laugh, cry, bring people together, and share culture and heritage and this books displayed that so well. I personally think that many students and adults can relate to this story in some way and will really enjoy it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Carol Royce Owen

    As often as we can, my husband and I love to go to hear the fiddlers as the Northeast Fiddler's Association holds their monthly gatherings throughout the state of Vermont. It's beautiful to hear all of the fiddlers, young and old, join in together "passing the music down." This book reminded me so much of those special days. The story is of a young boy traveling with his parents to the Appalachian String Band Festival to hear a well known fiddler (based on real life fiddler, Melvin Wine) play. H As often as we can, my husband and I love to go to hear the fiddlers as the Northeast Fiddler's Association holds their monthly gatherings throughout the state of Vermont. It's beautiful to hear all of the fiddlers, young and old, join in together "passing the music down." This book reminded me so much of those special days. The story is of a young boy traveling with his parents to the Appalachian String Band Festival to hear a well known fiddler (based on real life fiddler, Melvin Wine) play. He later becomes a student of the man and a beautiful friendship develops as Melvin passes down his songs and skills to the boy (based on real life fiddler, Jake Krack).

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nina

    A young boy and his family befriend an old fiddler who plays old songs for others to enjoy. The boy vows to practice and learn how to play the fiddle so he too can play the same old songs and pass them down to the next generation, whether it be on the front porch or at a festival. A touching story, which takes place in the Appalachian hills, this picturebook, which has beautiful illustrations, reminds us of the importance of keeping music alive. I could see this book being introduced in elementa A young boy and his family befriend an old fiddler who plays old songs for others to enjoy. The boy vows to practice and learn how to play the fiddle so he too can play the same old songs and pass them down to the next generation, whether it be on the front porch or at a festival. A touching story, which takes place in the Appalachian hills, this picturebook, which has beautiful illustrations, reminds us of the importance of keeping music alive. I could see this book being introduced in elementary or even early middle school. Students in Language Arts could then be challenged to write a similar story about a tradition that has been passed down their family line.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    A young boy falls in love with an old fiddle players's "old-time tunes" and begins taking lessons. Based on the true story of Melvin Wine ad Jake Krack, this touching book proves that music transcends age. Barry Root's realistic illustrations add just the right rustic flair. The author's note and resource list are comprehensive and helpful. If you use this as a read aloud or as part of a lesson, definitely include a few selections from the resource list! Recommended for elementary school collect A young boy falls in love with an old fiddle players's "old-time tunes" and begins taking lessons. Based on the true story of Melvin Wine ad Jake Krack, this touching book proves that music transcends age. Barry Root's realistic illustrations add just the right rustic flair. The author's note and resource list are comprehensive and helpful. If you use this as a read aloud or as part of a lesson, definitely include a few selections from the resource list! Recommended for elementary school collections, especially those in West Virginia or Appalachia.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Katy

    The story of a young boy who learns how to play the fiddle and the traditional music of the Appalachians. Based on the story of a young musician and his talented mentor I read lots of kids stories, and I love this one. I like that it's a story of Appalachian heritage that does not stereotype the people nor make it appear that those of us who make the Appalachians our home are living in the late 1800s or early 1900s. It's a story that celebrates who we are. Thank you, Sarah Sullivan, for a beautif The story of a young boy who learns how to play the fiddle and the traditional music of the Appalachians. Based on the story of a young musician and his talented mentor I read lots of kids stories, and I love this one. I like that it's a story of Appalachian heritage that does not stereotype the people nor make it appear that those of us who make the Appalachians our home are living in the late 1800s or early 1900s. It's a story that celebrates who we are. Thank you, Sarah Sullivan, for a beautiful children's story.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Hechesky

    Inspired by a real life relationship between two musicians with a 75 year age difference, this story book focuses on Appalachian music and the tradition of passing down the music from generation to generation. The story covers the friendship between the two musicians and how the boy's family encouraged and supported his interest in fiddle playing. Illustrations are beautifully done as is the writing. The author's note on real life relationship of the boy and the old man is an added treasure to the Inspired by a real life relationship between two musicians with a 75 year age difference, this story book focuses on Appalachian music and the tradition of passing down the music from generation to generation. The story covers the friendship between the two musicians and how the boy's family encouraged and supported his interest in fiddle playing. Illustrations are beautifully done as is the writing. The author's note on real life relationship of the boy and the old man is an added treasure to the accompany the story.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    This lovely picture book tribute to the power of traditional Appalachian fiddle music is also the story of an unlikely friendship between a boy and a man old enough to be his great-grandfather. The boy, Jake Krack, studied fiddle under the tutelage of the fiddle master, Melvin Wine, who died in 2003, having passed down his love for traditional tunes to Jake. The watercolor and gouache illustrations perfectly depict the mountains of West Virginia where this music was born.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Shelli

    Based on a true story of two fiddle players, one considerably older then the next. A young boy is moved and inspired when he sees a old fiddle player playing in the park. He asks if he can apprentice with the man and learn how to be an accomplished fiddle player. Touching story about passing down a talent and a way of story telling with the next generation to share and hopefully pass down to the following generation.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Terri Van Loon

    A young fiddler finds friendship with an older, more experienced fiddler and the two share music together. The older man teaches the younger the songs he knows from the past. Although as an adult I really appreciated the themes in the book of holding on to old traditions and passing them down through the generations, I had a hard time seeing how this book would appeal to young children. However, I did love the beautiful illustrations of the book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Donalyn

    A young boy, who is a talented fiddler, seeks out an old man, who is a fiddling legend, so that he can learn about the elder musician's tunes and bowing techniques. Based on the real-life friendship between musicians Melvin Wine and Jack Krack, this book describes the importance of mentors and finding our roots in the past. Vibrant with images of rural life. A young boy, who is a talented fiddler, seeks out an old man, who is a fiddling legend, so that he can learn about the elder musician's tunes and bowing techniques. Based on the real-life friendship between musicians Melvin Wine and Jack Krack, this book describes the importance of mentors and finding our roots in the past. Vibrant with images of rural life.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Heather Wallen

    Passing the music was a well written children's book inspired by a true story. It was heartbreakingly beautiful and lyrically written. It might be a little much for very young children, but It's a great read for children and adults alike. It's about following dreams and passing down tradition and the beauty of music, a wonderful selection for any child already in love with music. Passing the music was a well written children's book inspired by a true story. It was heartbreakingly beautiful and lyrically written. It might be a little much for very young children, but It's a great read for children and adults alike. It's about following dreams and passing down tradition and the beauty of music, a wonderful selection for any child already in love with music.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    I thought the pictures really complimented the story well. This story reminded me a little of Samuel and Eli. Eli taught Samuel how to care for the temple and in return Eli received Samuels help in many things. This boy is like Samuel and helps the old man with his chores and in return he receives music lessons and learns the old man’s tunes.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sun-Hee Yoon

    I read this book to my 4-year-old daughter in the bed time story. I usually hurry to read a book and let her to sleep. This book, however, made me stay in bed and read through patiently. The story is so rich, it deepens out heart. Adults will definitely enjoy this story.

  25. 4 out of 5

    mg

    I should add a tag for "old timey music" just for this book. Although it was only about fiddle players (and real ones at that) I was pleased to see that I know how to play at least one of the mentioned songs on my banjo! Lovely story, charming pictures. I should add a tag for "old timey music" just for this book. Although it was only about fiddle players (and real ones at that) I was pleased to see that I know how to play at least one of the mentioned songs on my banjo! Lovely story, charming pictures.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    This book is based off a true story of the friendship that came out of a young boy and an elderly man through playing the fiddle. I love the illustrations done in watercolor and gounache! They're so warm, soft, and comforting! This book has a recurring line of, "passing the music down." This book is based off a true story of the friendship that came out of a young boy and an elderly man through playing the fiddle. I love the illustrations done in watercolor and gounache! They're so warm, soft, and comforting! This book has a recurring line of, "passing the music down."

  27. 4 out of 5

    Elisabeth

    I didn't want to glance in the back while reading this because my hope that this was a true story was heartbreakingly strong. I wasn't disappointed and can't wait to sit down and listen to some of this great music. I didn't want to glance in the back while reading this because my hope that this was a true story was heartbreakingly strong. I wasn't disappointed and can't wait to sit down and listen to some of this great music.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Edward Sullivan

    Appealing story celebrating Appalachian culture and the passing down of learning and traditions.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kay

    There are so many reasons to love this book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Lovely simple pictures and a sweet story of generational friendship as well as keeping our history alive.

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