- Hardcover: 208 pages
- Publisher: Dutton Children Books; X-Library - 1st edition (Jan. 25 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0525671676
- ISBN-13: 978-0525671671
- Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 2.1 x 21.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 408 g
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
Come Sing Jimmy Jo Hardcover – Jan 25 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
James (stage-named Jimmy Jo) has a rough time handling his fame when he starts to perform with his country-western singing family. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8-James Johnson has been raised in West Virginia by his Grandma, while his Mother (Olive), Father (Jerry Lee), Grandpa, and Uncle Earl have been out pickin' and singin' country music at tent meetings, picnics, family reunions, etc. Grandma gave her place in the band to Olive when she joined the family. Now 11, James sings only with Grandma. After returning from their most recent trip, the family argues over whether or not to hire a manager. Eddie Switten visits the house and hears James singing. James has "the gift," and it doesn't take Switten long to see that James should play a part in the family's band. They get a six month contract with a TV show, Country Time, in Virginia and move there, leaving Grandma at home. James' name is changed to Jimmy Jo, and Olive becomes Keri Su. Although James becomes the star of the band and has many adoring fans, he is behind in his new school, doesn't have any friends, and doesn't want anyone to know about his singing. It's hard to keep that a secret, since some of the students have seen him on TV and there is a story in the newspaper about him. Linda Stephens narrates the book by Katherine Paterson (Lodestar, 1985) with a variety of southern voices and even sings a bit of the songs. Her narration is clear and distinct. This audio version gives new life to a book that might have lost some popularity over the years.
Rachelle Shollenberger, A.D. Eisenhower Middle School, Norristown, PA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
My grandmother gave this book to me when I was about 12 and I took one look at it and stuffed it away on the bookshelf. I was busy reading books like Sweet Valley High and a book about some hick kid in West Virginia did not appeal to me at all.
But being the voracious reader that I was, I pulled it out one day out of boredom and much to my surprise, it's become one of my favorite books. I still put it out to this day and read it (I'm 31.) For a book about some of the most down home, country, even 'hillbilly' people you'll ever read about, it has a surprising touch of dreaminess and whimsy and is just full of characters that draw readers into their world. I just loved James' grandmother, and felt his heartache when they were separated. She was a character and a 1/2...I defy anyone to read about her and not dream of meeting such a woman someday, smoking her pipe, telling it like it is in her thick accent, and loving with all her might.
James is living in rural West Virginia with his grandmother while his family, who have their own classic country and western band, tour and try for their big break. James has a beautiful voice as well, but only likes to sing for his grandmother. His family returns for a visit one day, and invite a manager to come see them perform. The manager likes them, but is mostly taken with James and agrees to sign them-but only if James is included.
James goes to live in the city with his family, where they get a regular spot on a live music show that airs once weekly. At school James just tries to blend in, hoping no one will know that he's a tv 'star'. At home his family situation is becoming tougher and tougher. Although very close to his father, James misses his grandmother, and his mother and uncle seem to care more about the show and their hopefully impending fame.
His invisibility at school is made harder by a teacher who takes a great dislike to him, and his struggle to make sure no one knows his true identity, which is made even harder by a stranger that begins to follow him. Luckily, amidst all the turmoil James has some truly special people in his life, his grandmother, who exudes her influence even from afar, his father, who loves him unconditionally, and a new 'friend', Eleazer Jones, the King of his school. There is a lot of humor too that livens what could have been a tough read.
If you are in doubt, don't be. Read this book-you won't regret it.