From the team that produced Hey, Al (Caldecott Medal, 1987), another intriguing, offbeat book. Dedicated to Maurice Sendak--who acknowledges Mozart as his inspiration, talisman, and leitmotif--the book recounts the rise of an inventor/musician whose life has inescapable parallels to Mozart's own: Minski is ""the greatest scientist ever known to man,"" tours as a boy with his father Leo, and invents (among other things) the light bulb, automobile, eyeglasses, and aspirin. (Though their garb sets the characters in the 18th century, it is Leonardo who praises Minski's rocket; Einstein is also mentioned.) But Minski isn't satisfied: he wants to sing. His search for the right formula is finally successful; the magical last ingredient is tea, and results in his ""most magnificent achievement. . . Talented angels could not sing any more heavenly."" The message here is ingeniously developed, and there's plenty of humor--sly or robust--to entertain. Egielski's illustrations are as colorful, accessible, and beautifully designed as ever. Younger kids won't get the Mozartian parallel or the surreal juggling with the centuries, but they'll enjoy the slapstick and catch a glimmer of the message about technology and art; teachers may also find creative ways to explore this in the upper grades.