HALLELUJAH HANDEL by Douglas Cowling


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 8 - 10
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In this leadenly earnest rewrite of Cowling’s same-named audio drama, a London street child finds healing in music—specifically Handel’s music—as he’s wrested from the clutches of a villain dubbed The Keeper by two young compatriots and the composer himself. Having been hired to lug Handel’s harpsichord from boat to dock after the premiere of “Water Music,” Harry and Jack think nothing of enlisting his aid when Thomas, an orphan who sings beautifully, but does not speak, goes missing. The three track him down at last at the opera, where he’s singing arias on a dark stage, after hours. Handel carries him off to the Foundling Hospital that he had helped to found, then gives the Hospital ownership of his “Messiah” in perpetuity—at which Thomas utters his first words: “I’m home.” Walker adds pedestrian scenes of realistically drafted, but preternaturally clean streets and street people, seen in a flattering golden light. Though some parts of this have a loose association with fact, children will find a far livelier and more history-based introduction to Handel in M. T. Anderson’s Handel, Who Knew What He Liked (2001). (Picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-439-05850-3
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2003