Friday, May 6, 2016

Picture Book Pick: If Not For You

If Not For You
by Bob Dylan
Illustrations by David Walker
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
32 pages
ISBN: 978145164881

  • "A floppy-eared dog and his pup treasure each other’s company in anthropomorphic domestic scenes that every child will recognize.... The palette and technique of the acrylic illustrations are soft and rounded using broken lines and delicate highlights. They provide a warm and fuzzy feeling that adds to the theme of love between a parent and child. The lyrics to Dylan’s 1970 song “If Not for You” are the text. VERDICT: Walker has done a fantastic job of interpreting Dylan’s song for children."
  • – School Library Journal, March 2016
  • "Walker illustrates the 1970 Dylan tune with an adorable parent-child canine pair. Using minimal backgrounds and props to keep the focus on the relationship, Walker masterfully conveys emotions in his acrylic illustrations...the pictures are so poignant that parents could make up their own words."
  • – Kirkus Reviews, March 2016
My Review:
Publishing coup! Simon and Schuster (Atheneum) somehow got Bob Dylan's consent to publish his lyrics "If Not For You" in  a children's picture book. This is a match made in heaven. Note to publishers: Dylan has quite the music catalog. You may want to lock him down into publishing more of his earlier work.
Sweet little love song "If Not ForYou" lives again for a whole new generation. In this rendition, illustrator David Walker captures sweet moments between dog parent and little puppy. The cover alone is worth a smile. A red balloon, a happy bluebird and parent holding onto the little one's hand as little one seems excited  (up on tiptoes). and the loving way the parent dog looks at his/her baby is priceless.
Walker captures the charm of the poetry and the dogs are loveable and huggable. The bluebird is their constant and joyful companion. This is one smile for a mile of a book!
Great grandparents might have to break out the old vinyl and play "Girl From North Country" (Dylan with Johnny Cash version the best) for the kiddies after reading this one.  
This is also a great gift for any true Bob Dylan fan. With Father's Day coming up and Mother's Day looming, this is the perfect book.
FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.