The Beatles age; a couple of them even pass away, but they never grow old, and Manning and Granström bring them back fresh as daisies—even with all their little blemishes.
This is a fizzy and surprisingly thorough tour of the decadelong joy of the Beatles. So much of their getting together was the work of luck, but these four were musicians first and foremost, so it probably wasn’t a miracle that their paths would cross somewhere along the way. The book is laid out in two-page spreads, illustrated cartoon-style, with a welter of boxed items per page that give crisp factual info—usually no more than a couple dozen words at a time—while the text buzzes along. The topical organization works well at introducing each Beatle (Pete Best appears in a small font) and charting the critical moments along their rise to fame and beyond. The text is breezy but intelligent, folding in rock-’n’-roll history along with biography, nor does it gloss over the quibbles, firings and low moments. It doesn’t dwell upon them either, for this is an upbeat story. The artwork is light of spirit and drenched with psychedelic colors—not of the woo-woo variety but of intense saturation. Adding to the story are snippets of critical moments of world history that influenced not only the Beatles’ music, but all of us.
A fine little addition to Beatlemania, despite the rather unprepossessing cover. (timeline, bibliography, filmography, discography, glossary) (Nonfiction. 8-12)