Bruce Springsteen to release picture book 'Outlaw Pete'

The story follows Outlaw Pete, a bank-robbing baby.
By Annie Martin  |  Updated Aug. 29, 2014 at 11:19 AM
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RUMSON, N.J., Aug. 29 (UPI) -- Simon and Schuster is releasing picture book Outlaw Pete based on the 2009 Bruce Springsteen song of the same name.

The book is illustrated by Frank Caruso and follows the first verse of the song, with Pete as a baby born "on the Appalachian Trail," who has "done three months in jail" by six months old for robbing a bank "in his diapers and his little bare baby feet."

"When Bruce wrote 'Outlaw Pete,' he didn't just write a great song, he created a great character," Caruso said in a statement. "The first time I heard the song this book played out in my head. Like Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, Dorothy Gale and, for me, even Popeye, Outlaw Pete cuts deep into the folklore of our country and weaves its way into the fabric of the great American literary characters."

While Outlaw Pete is being referred to in some reports as a children's book, the publisher says it had adults in mind.

"Picture books for adults have undergone a renaissance of late, from the success of similarly irreverent hits such as Ann Droyd's Goodnight iPad and Adam Mansbach's Go the F--k To Sleep to the resurgent interest in illustrators such as Richard Scarry, Maurice Sendak, and Edward Gorey."

Springsteen found inspiration for the song and book in Brave Cowboy Bill (1950), a book his mother read to him as a child. In the song, Outlaw Pete goes on to marry a Navajo woman and become "a killer and a thief," but it is unclear if those details will be included in the book. The singer has said the song is "essentially the story of a man trying to outlive and outrun his sins."

Outlaw Pete is available for preorder and will be released November 4.

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