Read On!

Mrs. Farquharson’s musings about books for children and young adults

Passing the Music Down


A picture book that we recently added to our school library collection is Passing the Music Down by Sarah Sullivan, illustrated by Barry Root (Candlewick Press, 2010). I read the story and admired the watercolor and gouache illustrations. It is a gentle tale of a young boy who travels with his parents to Appalachia to hear old-time fiddle players. The boy forms a friendship with an older fiddler, and he eventually moves to live near him and be mentored by him. The book became even more intriguing when I read the Author’s Note in the back of the book. She based her story on a true friendship, that of Melvin Wine (the old-time fiddler) and Jake Krack (the young boy).

On the endflap, Sarah Sullivan described Melvin Wine.

 “There was something timeless about him, like the ancient sage who passes on essential knowledge to a chosen apprentice, not for pay but out of an abundant reverence for his art and an abiding love for the world.”

After reading this, I had to go on YouTube to find clips of both Melvin Wine and Jake Krack fiddling. What a pleasure to enjoy this charming book and then listen to the musicians!

Melvin Wine

Jake Krack

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