elvisThe language in this picture book biography of Elvis Presley echoes the sound of his music–it’s colloquial, fresh, and not above leaving out a few nouns and verbs here and there. But the meaning still makes it through just fine:

“Shy, shaky Elvis sang his ballad about a dog. Didn’t even have a guitar, just sang straight through with feeling.”

We see Elvis’ early immersion in many different kinds of music and the hardscrabble life he had growing up. We see his frustration with trying to find the right sound until, in a moment of nervy excitement, he hits on it. The moment of breakthrough is signaled in the book by a spread that forces you to turn the book vertically, seeing everything from a new perspective.

The book is an ode to Elvis The timeline in the back matter mentions his “medical and emotional problems,” but the text of the book focuses on his brilliant successes.

Elvis: The Story of the Rock and Roll King by Bonnie Christensen. Christy Ottaviano Books: 2015.