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THE BEATLES WERE FAB by Kathleen Krull


(and They Were Funny)

by Kathleen Krull ; Paul Brewer ; illustrated by Stacy Innerst

Age Range: 7 - 9

Pub Date: May 14th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-547-50991-4
Publisher: Harcourt

Many adult readers will agree wholeheartedly with the title of this heartfelt paean to the Fab Four, but unfortunately, Krull and Brewer don’t quite manage to offer enough evidence to effectively convey to children the Beatles’ unique appeal and immense contributions to pop culture.

The narrative is straightforward. From their early years in Liverpool through their first big hit, the rapturous response they received in the U.S. and their eventual decision to go their separate ways, the trajectory of the Beatles’ incredible success is clearly plotted. Quirky details suggest that serious research informs the text. Unfortunately some sweeping statements may leave young listeners wondering just why the Beatles were considered “so cool, so funny, so fab.” Innerst’s accomplished acrylic-and-ink illustrations also seem more geared toward nostalgic adults. Exaggerated features and odd perspectives abound. Visual jokes and references enrich the paintings and extend the text, as when the band appears on a roller coaster formed by a guitar case plastered with stickers, but will almost certainly go over the heads of the intended audience.

Parents and (more likely) grandparents who want to introduce children to their favorite band would do better to play a song or two on whatever device is handy—though as Brewer and Krull note, the transformative impact of the Beatles was such that kids may not even recognize the originality of their music. (Informational picture book. 7-9)