Mr. Tanner children's book
Harry Chapin's 1976 song “Mr. Tanner” gets a picture-book adaptation inspired by real-life events. It tells of Mr. Tanner, a “cleaner from a town in the Midwest,” who loves to sing but recognizes that although “music was his life, it was not his livelihood.” After friends urge him to “use his gift instead of cleaning coats,” Mr. Tanner hops a plane to New York City and performs at Town Hall, but the reviews are not kind. Mr. Tanner receives a bad review, and after returning home “he smiled and just said nothing, and he never sang again.” Although closing images of Mr. Tanner singing to himself at his shop temper this outcome somewhat, it’s a somber reminder of the way criticism can get inside an artist’s head. Ages 5–7.
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