Cover image for Shake Rag : from the life of Elvis Presley
Shake Rag : from the life of Elvis Presley
Littlesugar, Amy.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Philomel Books, [1998]

Physical Description:
40 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 29 cm
A story about a period in the childhood of Elvis Presley when his family was dirt poor and he was introduced to the soulful music of the Sanctified Church that travelled to his town.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.3 0.5 28022.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



"White Trash" was what they called the boy, just because he wore hand-me-down overalls and lived on the wrong side of the tracks over near Shake Rag. Oh, how things changed when his mama scrimped and saved to buy him a second-hand guitar. It was his best friend. But he caught the real fever from the "good news" gospel music and the sweet rich jazz that poured out of the juke joints in that town. One day he would show all of the doubters! With his music, one day, he would wake up the world!

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Littlesugar's (Jonkonnu) evocative picture book about the boyhood of this rock and roll legend takes place in dirt-poor, mostly black Shake Rag, Tenn., in 1946, far from the grand gates of Graceland where Presley would one day live. Eleven-year-old Elvis never goes anywhere without his treasured secondhand guitar. He finds his inspiration in the radio songs of Mr. Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup and other blues guitarists and longs to play the kind of music he hears during clandestine visits to the traveling Sanctified Church‘music that some people, "black as well as white," called "the devil's music" ("They didn't think much of that bluesy piano playing or the soft wail of a horn on the hot night air"). These early influences would help land Presley his first recording contract at 19 and bring him worldwide fame. Cooper's signature oil-wash paintings‘luminous as ever and glowing in tones of browns, yellows and earthy greens‘draw readers into a fascinating era. Scenes of worshipers swaying and shouting in the revival tent, run-down storefronts in the glow of a lone streetlight and the portrait of a blues guitarist‘eyes closed, lost in his playing‘are not soon forgotten. Ages 5-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-4-A poignant glimpse of Elvis Presley's lonely childhood and of the impact made upon him by the people, both black and white, from the poor side of town-Shake Rag. Friendless at school, he had as his only companion an old guitar; his dreams gave him the courage of hope. Music consumed him and on a visit to the Sanctified Church, a traveling tent troupe, he reveled in the power of gospel melodies. The quality of storytelling is remarkable; readers will feel that the author is speaking over their shoulders as she tells them of a special friend. Soft, muted oil-wash paintings characterize the boy's dream time, blending reality and imagination into one entity. The artist features a rich golden wave of color to illuminate vast scenes as well as an ever-changing light source to draw attention to the child and the people who touch his life. Cooper is at his brilliant best as he creates moving emotional portraits of individuals and of the changes in mood of the young Elvis.-Ronald Jobe, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.