Thursday, November 14, 2013

"HANDEL Who Knew What He Liked" by M.T. Anderson & illustrated by Kevin Hawkes (Review & Giveaway)

A droll biography reveals the high notes—and the low notes—in the life of the world’s foremost composer of Baroque music.
This is not your usual picture book biography. Nor was George Frideric Handel your everyday eighteenth-century composer. This witty and yet rigorously researched and accessible biography captures Handel’s essential spirit—from a child who smuggled a clavichord into the attic to play music against his father’s orders to a young man who imported forty-five pounds of mountain snow to chill wine for a gala—as well as his remarkable, enduring musical triumphs. But M. T. Anderson also shows Handel’s struggles and chronicles the illness, ill fortune, and despair that led to his greatest achievement, the Messiah. With impeccable detail and a wink at the reader, Kevin Hawkes illustrates the singular story of Handel and the music through which he lives on.
My thoughts:  There are not many 8-12 year olds who would willing pick up a biography of Handel or any other musician from "ancient" history. However, M.T.Anderson's and Kevin Hawkes' witty yet factful story with illustrations that would appeal to the younger and not repel the older reader is engaging and will capture their attention. So the reader that needs to learn to read biographies yet would find the typical versions unappealing has a great choice in this biography.

The author brings out that as a child HANDEL was willful and intent on getting his way and do what he liked - playing music. He grew to be a man strong in spirit who took control of who he was and what he did and where he did it. His music has survived since the early 1700s.  The young reader will enjoy the drama in the story-telling, the humor, and the tidbits of additional information tucked at the bottom or side of the pages.
I think it is very appropriate to review this book and bring respect to the composer of The Messiah - one of the greatest and most inspiring oratories ever written - George Frederick Handel, as the Christmas season approaches and choirs across the world will sound forth the glorious chords and vibrant message in music of The Messiah. Like the author, M.T.Anderson, I too have sung parts of The Messiah. My husband sang it with the University of North Carolina choir years ago. We thank you, Mr. Handel for this wondrous music.
I encourage parents, music teachers, classroom teachers, and librarians to get a copy of this biography of Handel for their readers age 8-12.

GIVEAWAY: Candlewick Publishing has graciously provided a copy for one of Chat With Vera's readers to vie for. This is just in time to be a Christmas gift for that young reader in your life. Begins November 14 & ENDS November 29 @ 12:01 a.m. ET. Open to US addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy for the purpose of this review. I received no compensation and was not required to write a positive review.

25 comments:

  1. Now this makes me want to read an adult biography of Handel. I always look forward to hearing The Messiah at Christmas time.

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  2. I love reading biographies of composers, but I am a singer so that may be why. My daughter loves classical music, also and she would love this book. Strangely enough with all of the performing I did in my younger years, I only sang The Messiah once. Love it though!

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  3. To answer the other Question, We recently met, author/illustrator/artist Matt Phelan at an event and had him sign our copy of Bluffton, which is a graphic novel about Buster Keaton in his childhood, through the eyes of a fictional friend. It is excellent and our post about it is on the Booknificent Linky this week. I'm becoming a HUGE Candlewick Press fan!

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  4. I have seen a live performance of the Messiah and have sung in a school choir that performed the Messiah.

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  5. Lady Liberty: A Biography is the book that I would like to give to my grand kids.

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  6. Before I had small children 4 years ago, I would go to see Handel's Messiah performed locally (at a large theater at the local Veterans Home). Now I am worried that they would not sit still for music. We have had success with watching the Nutcracker with one of them last year but since tickets for 4 of us to go to Nutcracker were $250 this year, I did not have the funds to also spring for Messiah.

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    1. Emi (& everyone else) - when our 5 children were growing up, we were kid-rich and penny-poor but we had music in our home. Of course this was a long time ago (I graduated high school & married in 1957 - Oops! ancient) uI had one of those little suitcase style record players. We had no money for records, but when I was combing the local thrift store for books for the kiddies, I came across a huge stack of quality 33 lp records of the classics. Wonderful orchestra, piano music. So I "spluged" and bought a nice selection. I really didn't know anything about the classics except that it was absolutely beautiful music and I loved it. I guess the owner (we were in a highly intellectual college community) was divesting himself of his lp collection in lieu of the new tapped recordings - who know. His house cleaning became our treasure trove.

      From that point on, we had lovely music to clean house by, to nap by, to cook by, etc. One of my son's favorites was the William Tell Overture of 1812. Another loved Beethoven's Fifth. And we truly loved Franz Liszt: Liebestraum/Liebesträume No. 3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAhb16QnWhw

      I say all this because even if you don't have children with the patience to attend a live performance or the money for tickets, you can bring the beauty into your home and sprinkle it throughout your day. Enjoy the beauty and savor the reverence of the holy music that Handel composed.

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  7. The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra from Candlewick Press

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  8. I have never attended a live performance of Handel's The Messiah, and have not performed in it either.

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  9. I would like to read Master of Deceit a Biography of J. Edgar Hoover.

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  10. No I have not, I remember when I was a lot younger going to a concert for Peter and the Wolf and I still love theat music.

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  11. Think we would enjoy reading this true story Courage Has No Color, The True Story of the Triple Nickles (Paperback) = author: Tanya Stone

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  12. I have not seen this performance before.

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  13. for many years would go often to hear Handel's Messiah at Christmastime. It made Christmas for me. Lately have not been able to but would love restart an old tradition!

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  14. Would like to read "Walk this World" at Candlestick

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  15. I have attended performances that featured selections from Handel's Messiah, but sadly I have never attended a performance of it in its entirety.

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  16. My nephew would enjoy the Bugs book! Myself, not so much!

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  17. I have both been to a performance and been in a performance. I loved every minute of it all times. What I would really like to witness is Mozarts Requiem in all its glory and my dream is to one day conduct that work.

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  18. I have never seen the performance.

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  19. I have always wanted to see a performance
    hrddiana556@gmail.com

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  20. I have enjoyed several wonderful performances of The Messiah!

    Nancy
    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

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