SIMPLY FANTASTIC

AN INTRODUCTION TO CLASSICAL MUSIC

Creatures of fantasy, folklore and religious tradition from the Fairy-Queen to the Firebird provide an intriguing introduction to classical music.

Here’s an appealing gallery of 20 fantastic characters depicted in music. There are elves and witches, trolls and skeletal dancers, ghosts and blessed spirits, a sorcerer’s apprentice, a sugarplum fairy, the devil and more. Each is presented in a few short paragraphs headed by the musical piece’s title, genre and composer. The text, smoothly translated from Spanish, often includes something of the background and story of the piece. These words are set against watercolor images featuring surreal and stylized figures. An accompanying CD presents the music: short, relatively familiar selections from Purcell in the 17th century to Ligeti in the late 20th. These range from solo songs and choruses to piano and orchestral pieces, recorded by well-known musicians. Some, like Schubert’s “Der Erlkönig” and Wagner’s “Valkyrie” prelude, are complete; others are just a familiar excerpt. (The text of Goethe’s poem “The Elf King” is reproduced without credit.) Most are under 2 minutes. These pieces have been well-chosen to demonstrate the range and variety of classical music and its performers. Extensive, informative backmatter describes each selection and composer and includes a timeline and glossary. Second in a series by a classically trained Mexican pianist that began with Listen to the Birds (2013), this will be welcomed by teachers, music-loving parents and their children. (Informational picture book/CD. 7-12)

 

Pub Date: June 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-2-924217-21-4

Page Count: 68

Publisher: The Secret Mountain

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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A witty addition to the long-running series.

THE DEEP END

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 15

The Wimpy Kid hits the road.

The Heffley clan has been stuck living together in Gramma’s basement for two months, waiting for the family home to be repaired, and the constant togetherness has been getting on everybody’s nerves. Luckily Greg’s Uncle Gary has a camper waiting for someone to use it, and so the Heffleys set off on the open road looking for an adventurous vacation, hoping the changing scenery will bring a spark back to the family unit. The winding road leads the Heffleys to a sprawling RV park, a setting teeming with possibilities for Greg to get up to his usual shenanigans. Greg’s snarky asides and misadventures continue to entertain. At this point the Wimpy Kid books run like a well-oiled machine, paced perfectly with witty lines, smart gags, and charming cartoons. Kinney knows just where to put a joke, the precise moment to give a character shading, and exactly how to get the narrative rolling, spinning out the oddest plot developments. The appreciation Kinney has for these characters seeps through the novels, endearing the Heffleys to readers even through this title, the 15th installment in a franchise boasting spinoffs, movies, and merchandise. There may come a time when Greg and his family overstay their welcome, but thankfully that day still seems far off.

A witty addition to the long-running series. (Humor. 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4868-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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A stellar collaboration that introduces an important and intriguing individual to today’s readers.

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BECOMING MUHAMMAD ALI

From the Becoming Ali series , Vol. 1

Two bestselling authors imagine the boyhood of the man who became the legendary boxing icon Muhammad Ali.

Cassius was a spirited child growing up in segregated Louisville, Kentucky. He had a loving home with his parents and younger brother, Rudy. Granddaddy Herman also was an important figure, imparting life lessons. His parents wanted him to succeed in school, but Cassius had difficulty reading and found more pleasure in playing and exploring outdoors. Early on, he and Rudy knew the restrictions of being African American, for example, encountering “Whites Only” signs at parks, but the brothers dreamed of fame like that enjoyed by Black boxer Joe Louis. Popular Cassius was especially close to Lucius “Lucky” Wakely; despite their academic differences, their deep connection remained after Lucky received a scholarship to a Catholic school. When Cassius wandered into the Columbia Boxing Gym, it seemed to be destiny, and he developed into a successful youth boxer. Told in two voices, with prose for the voice of Lucky and free verse for Cassius, the narrative provides readers with a multidimensional view of the early life of and influences on an important figure in sports and social change. Lucky’s observations give context while Cassius’ poetry encapsulates his drive, energy, and gift with words. Combined with dynamic illustrations by Anyabwile, the book captures the historical and social environment that produced Muhammad Ali.

A stellar collaboration that introduces an important and intriguing individual to today’s readers. (bibliography) (Biographical novel. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-49816-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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