THE EXTRAORDINARY MUSIC OF MR. IVES by Joanne  Stanbridge

THE EXTRAORDINARY MUSIC OF MR. IVES

The True Story of a Famous American Composer
Age Range: 4 - 9

KIRKUS REVIEW

Young readers lucky enough to encounter both this book and Mordecai Gerstein’s What Charlie Heard (2002) may never again hear the sounds of the world around them in quite the same way—they may be listening for music.

The informing story for Stanbridge’s brief biographical account is the work that Charles Ives composed after the news of the sinking of the Lusitania reached New York City. Her gentle, full-color illustrations are rounded and appealing. The several wordless pages devoted to the sinking of the ocean liner are appropriately dramatic and scary, but they focus on a small girl rescued by a lifeboat and reunited with her mother. It is as if Charles Ives and his New York neighbors are seeing the events before their eyes, and this sequence serves to underscore their reaction of grieving astonishment. Ives’ From Hanover Square North, at the End of a Tragic Day, the Voice of the People Again Arose was first, and at long last, performed 13 years after Ives’ death. Stanbridge tells her young readers that as listeners came to know Ives’ music and as composers took inspiration from Ives’ ideas, the line of succession grew, all the way to John Adams’ 2002 concert, On the Transmigration of Souls, composed to remember the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, filled with the ordinary sounds of the city.

Unthreatening despite its subject matter, yet impressively moving. (author’s note, source list, suggestions for further reading and listening). (Picture book/biography. 4-9)


Pub Date: Oct. 9th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-547-23866-1
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2012




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