James Taylor Drops ‘Sweet Baby James’ Children’s Pop-Up Book

March 30th, 2018: As seen on Archive (PDF)

James Taylor opens a page from his new children’s book ‘Sweet Baby James’; Photo: James Taylor/YouTube

Everybody’s old seer of fire and rain, James Taylor‘s iconic ‘cowboy lullaby’ title track from his 1970 sophomore effort, Sweet Baby James, is getting the kids’ book treatment.

Available right now as a special edition, 10-page pop-up book on Taylor’s website, with a wider release on March 12, you can purchase the Mark Devlin-illustrated book for $25.

Back in February, Taylor put together a charming little promo video for the book’s pre-order push, in which the 70-years-young Rock Hall of Famer narrates the origin story of the song, one of his proudest achievements as a songwriter that “approaches being a work of art.”

“I started writing it for my nephew on the occasion of his birth. I drove down the coast, and I was really keen to see a little ‘James’ who had been named after me and was the first child born to our generation in the family. So it was a big deal,” says Taylor in the video. “Somewhere in Virginia the idea came to me of writing a cowboy lullaby.”

Taylor then proceeds to give a little peak into the tableaux of the book, revealing a little cowboy frontier dudeman on an American west backdrop amongst cattle and rivers and mountains and such, set aside one of the verses:

There’s a song that they sing when they take to the highway
A song that they sing when they take to the sea
A song that they sing of their home in the sky
Maybe you can believe it if it helps you to sleep
But singing works just fine for me

Though it’s not mentioned in the video, as UltimateClassicRock.com points out, the whole idea for the book was presumably spawned from Devlin’s stage design for Taylor’s 2014-15 world tour, in which a triptych presentation of the pop-up book was projected behind Taylor when he performed the song during sets. Devlin wrote a little behind the scenes post on his LinkedIn page a few years ago, should you want to dive down that rabbit hole.

Otherwise, check out Big James himself talk about Lil’ James below in the full promo video for the book, and get those bedtime reader glasses ready.