Friday, June 5, 2009

Book Review by Boo and Mommy: Forever Young, by Bob Dylan

Forever Young, by Bob Dylan

I confess I've never been a huge Bob Dylan fan, but you've got to have a heart like a (rolling) stone not to be moved by the lyrics of his 1974 song, "Forever Young."

(And the most poignant rendition of this ever has to be in the incredible documentary about the Young @ Heart chorus - This group of singing octogenarians and nonogenarians performs a concert for prison inmates on the same day that the chorus learns of the death of one of their members. Among the selections they sing for the prisoners is Dylan's "Forever Young." If you haven't seen this documentary, you absolutely must. It is the most powerful movie that I've ever watched.)

I digress. Back to the book.

Forever Young is the lyrics of the song, but it is the illustrations that provide the poignancy to the words which are moving enough on their own. Artist Paul Rogers used the illustrations to depict significant or key events in Dylan's life. There are hidden references to musicians of the 60s - many of whom make cameos in the artwork, too. For example, on a page with the lyrics, "May you have a strong foundation when the winds of changes shift," Rogers drew an imaginary "Stop the War" peace rally with a fictitious assemblage of marchers such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Joan Baez, Hank Williams, Albert Einstein, all four Beatles, and more. A handy description explaining the references and symbolism within the illustrations is conveniently at the end of the book.

This is one of those children's books that's more for the grown-ups than the little ones (kind of like Robert Munsch's "Love You Forever.") However, Forever Young holds great appeal for one budding musician in our house.

When we visited the library three weeks ago, Boo snatched this up right off the display of New Releases in the children's room. I mean, I have never seen a child grab a book so fast. He's been reading it every night since, and I'm thinking we will need to purchase it given that it's due tomorrow and is on hold for another patron. In the meantime, he offers up his thoughts on the book:

Forever young is good. Well... ``forever young" is about a famous boy named ``Bob Dylan." and his friend named ``Paul Rogers."

Page 2 & 3 shows a pichere of Bob Dylan's grandfather singing a song to Bob Dylan.
Page 4 & 5 shows Mr. & Mrs. Dylan listening to Bob Dylan sing a song from his grandfather.
Page 6 & 7 shows everybody listening to Bob Dylan sing the song from Bob's grandfather.
Page 8 & 9 shows some people singing songs & walking on the sidewalk in the night at 7-10.
Page 10 & 11 shows Bob Dylan in his PJ's singing Quietly the song from his grandfather.
Page 12 & 13 shows Bob & Paul going on the bus.
Page 14 & 15 shows Bob & Paul in Bob Dylan's Bedroom, Bob writes a song, Paul reads a book.
Page 16 & 17 shows Bob & Paul making a sale called ``save the planet" everyone loves it.
Page 18 & 19 shows Bob & Paul making a concert Bob, guiar, Paul, Bongo's.
Page 20 & 21 shows Bob & Paul in a car. Bob, driving, Paul, 2nd seat. what a nice red car.
Page 22 & 23 shows 3'0000 people yelling ``STOP THE WAR!".
Page 24 & 25 shows Bob & Paul singing on the sidewalk.
Page 26 & 27shows people singing to a girl.
and Page 28 shows Bob giving a guitar to a girl.

You get it? if you need help reading, meet Bob Dylan. Or read forever young and go to (Mommy's note: that's not a real website, by the way. Its one that Boo created in his head.)

the end.


Robin said...

Erm... I think I'm the one waiting on that book. I didn't know it existed until you wrote about it.

I am a lifelong Dylan fan, the first tape I ever owned was "Another Side of Bob Dylan". My favorite album of all time is "Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Vol II". And my daughter owns a Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat.

I wrote the lyrics to Forever Young in everyone's yearbook senior year. I'm so glad to see this song get some recognition, between this picture book and the Pepsi commercial.

So many people dismiss Dylan as being nonsensical, or for his lack of a beautiful singing voice. I think these factors allow the songs to tap into something universal in the human collective consciousness- something complicated, and labyrinthine, and sad, and lovely.

Betty and Boo's Mommy said...

I HOPE you are the one waiting for it, Robin. It will make it easier for me to get Boo to give it up if I tell him the nice lady from the Storybook Ball is waiting to read it. :)

As a Dylan fan, you will love this. And Dylan may be growing on me, too ...