Many famous musicians have tried their hand at writing kids’ picture books. Of course, that said, most of the ones I’ve come across, from Paul Simon’s At The Zoo, Puff the Magic Dragon, Ringo Starr’s recently-released Octopus’ Garden, or Leonard Cohen’s book of Dance Me To The End of Love (illustrated by Henri Matisse!) take the approach of taking a suitably kid-friendly song and adding whimsical illustrations. But, given the raunchy and drug-soaked nature of the Rolling Stones’ music (plus the fact that he’d have to share credit with Mick), it’s understandable that Keith Richards took a different approach: autobiography. Fortunately for young readers, the story seems to take place long before he got into drugs.
The book, Gus & Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar will be released on September 9 by Little, Brown Books, the same people who publish J.D. Salinger’s books. He will collaborate with Barbaby Harris and Bill Shapiro in the writing, and his daughter Theordora is illustrating the book.
The book is about the story of Richard’s grandfather Theodore Augustus “Gus” Dupree, former big band leader, and the inspiration for both Theodora’s name and Keith’s guitar playing. Keith previously told his story in his autobiography, Life, but, apparently inspired by his becoming a grandfather in February, he was inspired to write this book. Quoth Keef: “The bond, the special bond, between kids and grandparents is unique and should be treasured. This is a story of one of those magical moments. May I be as great a grandfather as Gus was to me.”