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Comment: Former library book in Good condition. Minor wear on the edges and corners of the cover. Contains stickers, stamps and sleeve. Pages clean no marking. Binding good.
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Blues Journey (Bccb Blue Ribbon Nonfiction Book Award (Awards)) Hardcover – March 1, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4 Up-"Blues- what you mean to me?/-Are you my pain and misery,/or my sweet, sweet company?" The opening verse of this latest father/son collaboration probes the very essence of a form-and a feeling; it asks the question that anyone who has sought solace in music can relate to. The pair's first composition wandered through a Harlem collage (Scholastic, 1997), depicting "-a call, a song- the mood indigo- a language of darkness-." This new duet is the blues: verbally and visually, it explores the idiom while exemplifying it. A call and response accompanies each painting. The poetry is given a variety of voices by the ever-changing cast and settings: three figures in a horse-drawn cart on a lonely road; two children sitting on a curb-one crying, the other comforting; workers in a chain gang; a brother and sister sharing a bed, head to toe. The tightly controlled, yet endlessly surprising palette consists of blue (ink), white (paint), and brown (paper bags). Many of the bodies and backgrounds are literally blue, with white highlights. This chilling effect is tempered by the warm texture of the brown bags. As the journey progresses, the lyrics and art look at loss through the lenses of slavery, poverty, lynching, love spurned, fear of dying-and of living. An author's note provides a lucid description of the history, elements, and importance of the blues. Symbolism is explored in a glossary. Artist and author push the idiom-and the picture book-to new dimensions. Their song will slide through readers' ears and settle into their souls.
Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 5-8. The blues' deceptively simple rhyme scheme tracks the deeper feelings of lives that have been bruised. In this picture book for older readers, Myers offers blues-inspired verse that touches on the black-and-blue moments of individual lives. His son Christopher's images, which illustrate the call-and-response text, alternate between high spirited and haunting. Myers begins with a very necessary introduction to the history of the blues that includes an explanation of the rhyme scheme. Still, the level of sophistication necessary for kids to get into the book is considerable: "Strange fruit hanging, high in the big oak tree / Strange fruit hanging high in the big oak tree / You can see what it did to Willie, / and you see what it did to me." Myers' original verse is unsettling if young people know the reference from the Billie Holiday song, but unclear if they don't ("strange fruit" is defined in the glossary). The accompanying illustration, though it's one of the less inspired ones, helps clarify things--a boy walks in a crowd carrying a sign saying, "yesterday a man was lynched." But there's no cohesion between the spreads, and the next one features a blues singer at a mike: "The thrill is gone, but love is still in my heart . . . I can feel you in the music and it's tearing me apart." Much of Myers' poetry here is terrific, by turn, sweet, sharp, ironic, but it's the memorable collage artwork, executed in the bluest of blue ink and brown paper, that will draw readers first. Once inside the book, some children will immediately hear the songs the poetry sings; others will have to listen more closely. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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"Oh, The Places You'll Go!"
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Series: Bccb Blue Ribbon Nonfiction Book Award (Awards)
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Holiday House; First Edition edition (March 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0823416135
  • ISBN-13: 978-0823416134
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 11.2 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,520,856 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Walter Dean Myers is a New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed author who has garnered much respect and admiration for his fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for young people. Winner of the first Michael L. Printz Award, he is considered one of the preeminent writers for children. He lives in Jersey City, New Jersey, with his family.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ayelle on February 20, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Father-son, writer-illustrator team Walter Dean Myers and Christopher Myers have produced a masterpiece. W. D. Myers's text is made up of poetic blues lyrics, the "call and response" depicting the African-American experience. The poetry is beautiful, unsettling and evocative; it is perfectly complemented by C. Myers's art. The artwork is done entirely in white paint, warm brown paper bags, and blue ink -- every blue tone from navy-black blue to ice-white blue. It is not at all obvious at first glance that his palette was so limited; C. Myers is astonishingly creative, using a wide variety of artistic techniques and tools, and his spreads are richly textured and diverse. The images are moody, haunting, and tense. Sorrow and pain are the dominant emotions, though hope, joy, tenderness and celebration make appearances as well.
As the title indicates, the book is a journey, and the verses and images progress forward through the timeline of the blues, from the end of slavery through the beginning of the civil rights movement. The pictures also show the gradual movement from country to city, the black migration from South to North. The blues timeline is printed at the end of the book, along with a glossary of symbolic terms used in blues lyrics. This back matter, in addition to the opening author's note giving an explanation of the history and meaning of the blues, provide a necessary key to understanding the layers of meaning in the verses and accompanying illustrations.
Several of the spreads are visually breathtaking, evoking deep feelings of grief and sympathy. A man stands facing away from the viewer, knee-deep in a gorgeously painted blue ocean, holding onto a fishing net. The verse speaks of "casting my love out to the sea;" the illustration speaks powerfully of loneliness.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Librarian on November 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Blues Journey briefly explores the blues. Walter Dean Myers prefaces his lyrics with a note about this musical genre. We then travel with the speaker through the sadness that he has experienced over his lifetime. W.D. Myers adds a timeline of blues landmarks and a glossary of blues terms to the end of the book. Walter Dean Myers' son, Christopher, beautifully illustrates this book. This is an excellent title for an introduction to a study of the blues with students fifth grade and up!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I just read this book and even as I write this review I'm feeling reluctant to continue. This isn't one of those books that you quickly glance through then immediately write your response on. It's that rare kind of book that you read, and stop, and then think about for long periods of time. It's the book you carry with you to quiet places, like park benches or sloping green hills, just to read it to yourself. It's a book that sings without straining, that ropes you in with its words and then traps you with its images. I shouldn't be writing this review now. I should stop and think more about this book, ponder it a while, and when I figure out what to make of it THEN I'd write this review. But I'm afraid that if I wait to puzzle this book through completely, I'll never get around to writing anything at all. And that would be the worst response to something this good, I suppose. So it is with great reluctance that I'm going to try to convey to you what this book feels like to read.
A little background first. Written by young adult book god Walter Dean Myers, the author switches his focus from long prose to picture book form. Accompanied by Christopher Myers (an artist in the sense that what he draws drips into you) the two have concentrated on the blues. There's a fabulous author's note at the beginning explaining what the blues is and how it was born. From the call and response singing form, found on the continent of Africa, this type of music mixed with European English to create the final product, the blues. Myers puts it this way, "When art from two cultures comes together, the result is often an exciting new experience". He goes on to explain a couple terms and how the blues moved from the fields to the cities. Then the book begins.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. L. Straayer on January 31, 2004
Format: Hardcover
If you want to know what the book is about and the feel of it,
take a look at the cover. It says it all - the scariness, the
unutterable sadness, the awfulness of the slavery & then the segregation in the South from which the Blues developed.
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Blues Journey (Bccb Blue Ribbon Nonfiction Book Award (Awards))
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