Elvis: The Story of the Rock and Roll King by Bonnie Christensen

Published by Henry Holt

Summary:  This picture book biography focuses on Elvis Presley’s early years, growing up in extreme poverty in the south.  From a very young age, Elvis was drawn to music, and he was surrounded by a wide range of influences.  Even though his town was segregated by race and class, the music of jazz, blues, and gospel was everywhere.  When Elvis was 13, his family moved from Mississippi to Memphis, and he learned to play guitar.  A few years later, he managed to get a recording session with Sun Records.  It was turning into a disaster, when Elvis started singing “That’s All Right”, a Delta blues song he infused with country and gospel.  That song became a hit, and Elvis Presley was on his way.

Pros:  Kids today may see Elvis Presley as something of a joke, and this story really humanizes him, portraying him sympathetically as a nervous kid who loved music.

Cons:  Elvis looks a lot better in these illustrations than he did when I saw him in the candy aisle at Walmart last week.

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