A droll biography reveals the high notes—and the low notes—in the life of the world’s foremost composer of Baroque music.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.
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.
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.
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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.