THE MYSTERIES OF BEETHOVEN’S HAIR by Russell Martin

THE MYSTERIES OF BEETHOVEN’S HAIR

Age Range: 10 - 14
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KIRKUS REVIEW

In 1827, a music student cut a lock of hair as a memento from the head of recently deceased Ludwig van Beethoven. In 1994, two Americans bought the hair for about $7,300 and had scientists subject it to forensic tests. This slim volume introduces Beethoven’s life, with an emphasis on his poor health and emotional problems, interspersing chapters about the hair’s journey from Vienna to Arizona and the scientific analysis. Although the lock’s history intersects with Denmark’s remarkable evacuation of Jews in World War II, the specifics of its journey are unknown, which leaches some of the excitement from the episode. One must also wonder how many child readers will be captivated by the revelation that Beethoven’s hair had extremely high levels of lead, much as the authors strain to build to a dramatic climax. Beethoven fans and music students may be intrigued, but overall the audience for this mildly interesting story will be limited. Black-and-white archival illustrations and photographs add little to the appeal. (authors’ note, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-57091-714-1
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2009




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