'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 10 March 2015

Review: Gus & Me - The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar

Some of my fondest teen memories involve me sitting at my grandmother’s piano playing from her sheet music to accompany my grandfather playing the violin. That piano now sits in my own home and when my children play, I smile at this connection across the generations.

As a result, it should come as no surprise that I love the concept of this nostalgic picture book – the story of a grandfather (Gus) giving his grandson Keith his first guitar. There is something momentous about the way Gus gives Keith the guitar and I love the sense of expectation that the story conveys – the idea that this was the beginning of something special.

The Keith sharing this lovely story is Keith Richards, guitarist for The Rolling Stones, widely considered one of the best guitarists in the world. From one guitar given as a gift from his beloved grandfather, Keith has gone on to develop an astounding musical career, not to mention a collection of guitars that includes more than 350 instruments.

The family focus of the book is continued with the illustrations, which are the work of Keith’s daughter, Theodora Richards. The illustrations are pen, ink and collage and add to the nostalgic feel of the story. The book includes a CD which features an introduction by Keith Richards, an excerpt of Malagueña (a song mentioned in the story) played by Keith, and a recording of the story read by actor and musician James Langton.

Gus & Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar is a celebration of family and the special bond between grandparents and grandchildren, a reminder of the power of music, and a touching memoir of one of the great names in rock music. This beautiful story is one for music lovers to treasure and it is sure to inspire young musicians to chase their dreams

Title: Gus & Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar
Author: Keith Richards
Illustrator: Theodora Richards
Publisher: Orion Children's, $28.99 RRP
Publication Date: September 2014
Format: Hardcover with dust jacket and CD
ISBN: 9781444011760
For ages: 6+
Type: Picture Book, Memoir