The Music In George’s Head: George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody In Blue – Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Stacy Innest

51eoutyelcl        The Music In George’s Head: George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody In Blue – Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Stacy Innest, Calkins Creek, (9781629790992), 2016

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1- 5 (5 is excellent or a Starred review)  5

What did you like about the book?  This picture book tells the story of composer George Gershwin from his childhood to the creation of his renowned Rhapsody in Blue.  The book begins with a fitting quote by Gershwin “I frequently hear music in the very heart of noise.”  The gorgeous illustrations of acrylic on  paper are rendered in appropriate tones of blue and are based on period photographs.  Much of the text is hand-lettered and swirls through the illustrations.  The reader sees how George is immersed in the music he hears all around him from classical, to ragtime, to blues, to jazz.  George also listens to the music of the city, the “Rattle-ty-Bang! Rattle-ty-Bang!” of a train and the “staccato beats” of footsteps. This is a wonderful look at the creative process and music composition.  The book includes an Author’s Note that gives more biographical information as well as a Timeline of Gershwin’s life and a Selected Bibliography.  Reading this will have you seeking out a recording of Rhapsody In Blue!

Anything you didn’t like about it?  No

To whom would you recommend this book?  This is a book to hand to readers who love music and learning about the lives of musicians.  

Who should buy this book?  Public libraries and elementary school libraries

Where would you shelve it? Picture Book Biographies

Should we (librarians/readers) put this at the top of our “to read” piles?  Yes

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City:  Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

Date of review: 1/22/17             

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