A lot of Bruce Springsteen songs have a narrative quality to them, so it’s not exactly surprising that a Springsteen lyric has inspired a book. Still, I don’t think any fans could have predicted that a children’s book could come out of the Boss’ oeuvre, but that’s what has happened with Outlaw Pete, Springsteen’s first foray into children’s literature with illustrator Frank Caruso.
Based on the eight-minute opener of Springsteen’s 2009 album Working On A Dream, the book–like the song–takes after the children’s book Brave Cowboy Bill, which Springsteen’s mother read to him as a child. In a statement, Caruso compared the character of Pete to other characters tied to American folklore, including Huck Finn and Dorothy Gayle. “Outlaw Pete is essentially the story of a man trying to outlive and outrun his sins,” Caruso told Rolling Stone. We’ll have to wait and see just how that theme translates into a kid’s book.
Springsteen is also making a jump into more grown-up forms of literature soon, though he hasn’t confirmed what he’s working on or when it will be released. His latest album, High Hopes, came out earlier this year.