From School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Composed with much alliterative, musical language, and onomatopoeia, this narrative flows beautifully, telling the story of the friendship and collaboration between composer Igor Stravinsky and dancer Vaslav Nijinsky. Focusing on the changes to their work and personal styles that resulted from their meeting to the culmination of their efforts, the ballet The Rite of Spring, the story conveys their composition process in a lively, upbeat fashion, with a percussive vocabulary. This book would be the perfect accompaniment in music lessons exploring the 100th anniversary of the famous work, and may inspire young musicians to create their own and definitely different work. Children may be surprised to learn about the commotion the composition caused, and the riotous ballet is sure to catch their attention. Vibrantly colored illustrations, inspired by Matisse and Picasso, of the musical notes, instruments, and dancers depicted, enhance the tone of the story and complement the text well. A detailed note from the author, complete with photographs, provides interesting background information about Stravinsky, Nijinsky, and The Rite of Spring.-Alison Donnelly, Collinsville Memorial Public Library, ILα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* One of the problems with musician biographies for younger kids is that they are usually not familiar with the artists or their sounds. Words and art have to work together to give a sense of the music and be invigorating enough that readers will want to seek it out themselves. That’s where this book excels. The title and the bright cover will initially grab kids: Stravinsky at the piano; Nijinsky posing; both framed by a rainbow of musicians, dancers, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and more. Inside, the text has a beat all its own as it first introduces the two men and how they worked alone, while noting that they both dreamed of something different. Their collaboration brought the world The Rite of Spring (They took Russian folk dances and Russian songs / they squared them and flattened them, twisted and cubed them / turning them into something different and new), which opened to a riot in Paris during its premier. The acrylic artwork captures the innovation, the noise, and the excitement in swirling, whirling images crowded with color and movement. Jumbled faces and bodies, reminiscent of those found in Toulouse Lautrec’s posters, add to the mix. This one will make kids want to sit down and listen to the music for themselves. Grades 2-4. --Ilene Cooper