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Home on the Range: John A. Lomax and His Cowboy Songs Hardcover – January 22, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 1–4—This lovely picture-book biography of the noted musicologist describes his youth in Texas where he enjoyed singing as he worked on the family ranch and he listened to cowboys singing as they traveled the old Chisholm Trail. Lomas taught for a few years, but his passionate interest in music won out and led him to become an extraordinary collector of folk songs. Beautiful ink and watercolor illustrations radiate warmth, charm, and humor, highlighting expressive features and striking individuality. The handsome artwork is full of energy and authenticity, and includes faithful and appealing renditions of animals and bucolic landscapes. Excerpts from some songs appear prominently. Addendum material includes additional details about Lomax, his family, and their legacy; information about the Library of Congress archival collection of songs; and a list of other sources.—Kirsten Cutler, Sonoma County Library, CA
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From Booklist

This picture book traces the early life of John Avery Lomax (1867–1948), whose childhood love of cowboy songs led to a career collecting and recording America’s folk songs. His discovery of the now-familiar “Home on the Range” is featured on two double-page spreads, but the book covers much more ground than that. Nicely written for a young audience, it portrays Lomax growing up on a Texas farm, attending two universities, and traveling about the country as a young man with an unusual calling: song hunting. Throughout the book, appealing line-and-wash illustrations depict believably quirky individuals within nicely composed settings. The landscapes are particularly fine. In the appended author’s note, Hopkinson calls the book historical fiction “based closely on the life of John Avery Lomax,” but it’s unclear what parts are fictional. The book concludes with a note on sources and a brief bibliography. Grades 1-3. --Carolyn Phelan

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 890L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (January 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399239960
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399239960
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 10.9 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,247,617 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Deborah Hopkinson is as award-winning of picture books, fiction, and nonfiction for young readers. In 2013 she received a Robert F. Sibert Honor and YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Award honor for Titanic: Voices from the Disaster.

She has won the SCBWI Golden Kite Award for Picture Book Text twice, for A Band of Angels and Apples to Oregon. Sky Boys, How They Built the Empire State Building, was a Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor awardee. She lives near Portland, Oregon.

The Great Trouble, A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel won the OCTE Oregon Spirit Award and was named a Best Book of 2013 by School Library Journal and an Oregon Book Award finalist.

Deborah's forthcoming books in 2015-16 include: nonfiction about WWII entitled Courage & Defiance; Beatrix Potter and the Unfortunate Tale of a Borrowed Guinea Pig, illustrated by Charlotte Voake; a middle grade novel called A Bandit's Tale, The Muddled Misadventures of a Pickpocket; a picture book about sea turtles called Follow the Moon Home (with Philippe Cousteau), and a historical fiction picture book entitled Steamboat School, illustrated by Ron Husband.

Visit her on the web at and follow her on Twitter at @deborahopkinson.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
John Avery Lomax was a singing boy. He loved to sing all day long and if the truth be known her probably knew more "folk songs, tunes, and ballads than there were in the great state of Texas." He seemed to have songs for everything from churning to planting. Every song seemed to make chores seem a bit easier.

Probably his favorites were the cowboy songs he often heard in the distance as he lay in bed. When he went off to college at the University of Texas, he thought his cowboy song collection would be appreciated. Forget that, it sure wasn't. Later when he went to Harvard University things began to change. Would Professor Wendell and his classmates appreciate the old time ballads and cowboy songs? They just might like them, who knew. Later on he would even attempt to get some of the old timers to sing them into his recording machine!

"Home, home on the range . . . "

This book is creative nonfiction, but is primarily based on the life of Lomax. I loved the illustrations and the storyline and the illustrations are delightful. The songs are not set to music, but if you can easily search out the complete cowboy lyrics and the chords on the internet (Home on the Range has five chords). If you have access to an autoharp, this would be a perfect classroom project for your students or homeschoolers to undertake!
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By C. Lomax on April 17, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the story of a member of our family, John A. Lomax.

The family GREATLY appreciates Deborah Hopkinson writing such a delightful book. Most of the family has purchased the books for our "next generation".

John A. Lomax lived a hard, but exciting life. We should all be grateful for what his family sacrificed for him to "collect and publish" the songs of the Chisholm Trail, the Blues and times gone by.

All will enjoy reading and remembering, long ago.......................
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The condition of the book was perfect and came with the book jacket. I am completely satisfied with my purchase!
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By PIANO PLUS LLC on November 16, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Everything was Great!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By cool g'ma on September 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Home on the Range arrived promptly and is in "Like New" condition. Every page is crease free, the binding is perfect; I couldn't have done better buying it new. And because it's from a library, it has a protectcive cover!
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