Great performers are generally prodigies born to poor parents; they lead peripatetic lives and die with their dancing shoes on (or violins under their chin)... It's the traditional image of the virtuoso, and it's part of the truth if not the whole truth; it's also the chief impression that a child reading these brief biographies will receive. Pavlova and especially Toscanini come off a little better, with some of their testiness and frustrations intact. The look of the book is fifth and sixth grade, but the tone is quite young and the sentences are short and choppy. Expendable.