A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this biography about the older sister of Wolfgang Mozart tells the story of an amazing musician whose talent was largely lost to the world because a public life was not considered appropriate for a woman during the 18th century. Here, her story is told in the form of a piano sonata. The text is divided into several movements with the accompanying allegros, developments, and so on. Because the terms are important to the story, as they would be in a sonata, they may need to be discussed with younger readers. Additional information and resources for further study are included in the book's back matter.
What's the story?
Though few people have heard of Maria Anna Mozart, almost everyone knows her brother Wolfgang and his music. Like her brother, Maria too was a child prodigy and \ musical genius, and she toured together with Wolfgang when she was a child. However, because she was a girl, she was neither encouraged \ in her musical education as he was, nor allowed to pursue her music publicly after she was 12 years old. Even so, throughout her life, she played, composed, and developed \ her musical talent purely "for the love of music." Besides playing in private concerts and practicing with court musicians, she gave piano lessons to rising pianists. Though none of the \ musical compositions she wrote have survived, she made a point of collecting and preserving many of her brother's works.
Is it any good?
Though this book is a biography, it may be best read like poetry: slowly and thoughtfully -- and preferably aloud. Structured like a piano sonata, this sparse but powerful story takes readers from first movement to coda, telling the much-overlooked story of a talented musician. The structure may be a bit over-the-heads of young kids, and the story a bit thin for older ones, but FOR THE LOVE OF MUSIC may hit the right note for early-elementary kids, especially those beginning their own music lessons.
The elegant illustrations will be more easily accessible to a wider audience; they create a tone that sets the text solidly in the world of the 1700s, and of music. Done in fabric, paper, and oil and acrylic on canvas, full-paged paintings and text are set against a collage of tapestries to create just the right tone for the story. The portraits are softly presented in golds, browns, and blues that create the lacy and elegant world of kids in wigs and gowns. Actual musical scores decorate walls, doors, pianos, and gateways to show that music was all encompassing. Ultimately, parents and teachers may find this a valuable book to share as a biography of a little-known musician, an introduction to musical terms, or to start a discussion of women's roles. The author provides additional information about Maria and a list resource at the book's back matter.
Done in fabric, paper, and oil and acrylic on canvas, full-paged paintings and text are set against a collage of tapestries to create just the right tone for the story. The portraits are softly presented in golds, browns, and blues that create the lacy and elegant world of kids in wigs and gowns. Actual musical scores decorate walls, doors, pianos, and gateways to show that music was all encompassing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the much-overlooked subject of this biography. Were you surprised by Maria's story? What other biographies of amazing women have you read? How do their stories compare?
Why do you think the author decided to structure this biography like a piano sonata? Did this structure detract from Maria's story -- or add to it?
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