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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Mentions of London and some of its sights, various instruments, and the song Malagueña (a song by Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona, written in 1928, which has become a jazz standard).
You can learn a lot from your grandfather. A grandparent can influence what you do when you grow up. Music can change your life. It takes lots of practice to become proficient in something. The relationship between grandparents and grandkids is important. As Keith, who has five grandchildren, writes in the "About Keith Richards" back matter: "The bond, the special bond, between kids and grandparents is unique and should be treasured. This is the story of one of those magical moments. May I be as great a grandfather as Gus was to me."
Positive Role Models
Gus is kind, generous and shares his time, stories, and musical knowledge with Keith. They share long, aimless walks around London and the countryside. He's clearly an inspiration for Keith in many ways, including his future profession.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Gus & Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar is Rolling Stones lead guitarist Keith Richards' fond, heartfelt memoir of his granddad, Theodore Augustus Dupree, known as Gus. This beautifully designed picture book portrays their close relationship, fun adventures in London and the countryside, and the key moment in Keith's childhood when Gus gave him his first guitar and taught him how to play. It's an upbeat, moving, cleverly written tale that works well as a story, with expressive pen-and-ink and watercolor drawings by Keith Richards' daughter, Theodora Dupree Richards (named after Gus). The underlying message of the power of grandparents to influence the lives of their grandkids may inspire parents to share their recollections. The book includes back matter with photos and facts "About Keith Richards," including photos of Gus. The hardcover edition includes a CD of Richards reading the story, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar.
Is It Any Good?
GUS & ME is a wonderful slice of memoir that reads like a good picture-book story. It features indelible characters, an intimate portrait of a close, meaningful granddad-grandson relationship, and expressive pen-and-ink-and-watercolor drawings by Keith Richards' daughter, Theodora Richards. It's sweet and poignant without being treacly, and the writing is excellent, capturing the deep emotions Keith felt as a little kid in passages such as this: "There was nothing like visiting Gus. The closer to his house I'd get, the bigger my smile would grow. By the time I landed on his doorstep, I was all teeth."
Gus & Me would make a great read for kids and grandparents to share. And for parents reading it aloud, it might trigger some memories they can share about specific ways they were influenced by their grandparents.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.