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THE COMPOSER IS DEAD by Lemony Snicket


by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Carson Ellis

Age Range: 8 - 10

Pub Date: March 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-06-123627-3
Publisher: HarperCollins

In this characteristically unsettling invitation to Meet the Orchestra, the Composer leads off—dead or, as the author puts it, “decomposing” at his desk. Enter the Inspector—bearing a certain resemblance to the aforementioned scrivener (or at least his alter ego) in Ellis’s note-strewn, atmospherically wan watercolors—to grill each section of instruments and to pick apart their alibis. When the Inspector at last accuses the Conductor of doing the dirty deed, all of the former suspects step up to declare collective guilt: “All of us have butchered a composer at one time or another. But we also keep composers alive.” On the accompanying CD the melodramatic narrative is set to percussive music, which is reprised without the author’s reading on a second set of tracks. Conceived as an alternative to “Peter and the Wolf” but more a send-up than an informational visit to the pit, the episode isn’t likely to make much of a lasting impression on young audiences. (Picture book. 8-10, adult)