Mr. Tanner

Mr. Tanner
Mr. Tanner

Mr. Tanner

By Harry Chapin, Illustrated by Bryan Langdo



40 Pages, 9 x 11

Formats: Hardcover Picture Book, PDF

Hardcover Picture Book, $17.99 (US $17.99) (CA $23.99)

ISBN 9780991386680

Rights: WOR

Chicago Review Press (May 2017)
Chicago Review Press-Ripple Grove Press

Price: $17.99
Google Preview
Media Copy


Mr. Tanner runs a dry cleaning shop in Dayton, Ohio, where he spends his days greeting his customers with his beautiful baritone voice. His friends and neighbors encourage him to sing professionally instead of cleaning clothes. He eventually takes a chance and travels to New York City to be heard by a concert agent and critics, only to find they weren’t hearing what he was feeling. The song Mr. Tanner was released in 1973 off Harry Chapin’s Short Stories album. The song was inspired by a mediocre review about a baritone singer in The New York Times. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will go to help support WhyHunger, a charity championed by Harry Chapin himself.


"In essence, both the song and the book tell the story about finding one#&39;s voice (no pun intended), to be yourself, and that you should always thoughtfully be willing to try things and not be scared to fail, because after all that#&39;s how we learn."  —Jonathan Chapin, step-son of author/songwriter Harry Chapin

"Langdo (There’s a Cat in Our Class!) portrays Mr. Tanner as a well-dressed brown bear, and his sensitive watercolors draw out the joy Mr. Tanner gets from singing, his shock over the bad review, and its effect on him: 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."  —Publishers Weekly

"Aside from a few changes, the rhyming text of the book is the same as the original song. A facsimile of the typed lyrics with Chapin’s handwritten corrections is included. Like #&39;Cat’s in the Cradle,#&39; the late singer/songwriter’s best-known work, this story about good intentions going awry has a melancholy air. There’s inspiration in the refrain: #&39;He didn’t know how well he sang. It just made him whole.#&39;"  —Kirkus Reviews

Author Biography

Harry Chapin was an American singer-songwriter best known for his #1 hit Cat’s in the Cradle. He was a true troubadour of storytelling through his songs. He also was a humanitarian who fought to end world hunger and is one of the founders of WhyHunger. Bryan Langdo is the illustrator of over thirty books for children, including Hero Mom, Patterns in Peru, and Salad Pie. He lives in Hopewell, New Jersey.