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Showing posts with label Bob Dylan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bob Dylan. Show all posts


Forever Young (2008)

By Bob Dylan

Illustrated by Paul Rogers

Text set in Clarendon

Ink, acrylic, and Adobe Illustrator

Atheneum Books for Young Readers

I am very pleased to say that my son liked this one very much. I wasn't sure, since it seemed on first glance like it would have more appeal for older Dylan enthusiasts and completists. I like the song, "Forever Young," of course, but its not one of my favorite Dylan songs, probably not in my top 10... or even top 20. I like songs best that tell a story, or at least suggest a story, and for a story-lover, Bob Dylan is a treasure trove. "Forever Young," however, has always seemed to me more of a series of platitudes and well-wishes.

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you

May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young

It does not evoke within me a sense of place or time or character. So it's to Paul Rogers' credit that he was able to infuse the song with just these elements and create a story through his illustrations. Beginning with a wide-eyed youth gazing at Woody Guthrie sitting outside of Gerde's Folk City, "This Machine Kills Fascists" emblazoned on his guitar case, it follows him through adolecense, through Greenwich Village, the shows, festivals, the protests. Along the way, the backgrounds are littered with the likes of Joan Baez, Allen Ginsberg, Pete Seeger, John Lennon, all those greats, and references to Dylan songs.

The illustrator's notes at the end give away most of the references, which may seem like cheating, but Arlo really enjoyed going back through the book afterward to see if he could pick out the hidden emblems. "Get some Dylan albums," he writes, "sit down, listen to the lyrics, look at the book, and see what you can find."

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