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John's Secret Dreams: The John Lennon Story Hardcover – October 4, 2004
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From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8–Using a combination of simple prose, song lyrics, and illustration, this heartfelt picture-book biography traces Lennon's life from his childhood to his death. Striking in both its simplicity and complexity, it captures this enigmatic singer, artist, songwriter, and folk hero in a way that will move and fascinate those too young to remember the man but are surrounded by his music and myth. Collier's remarkable illustrations begin on the cover from which Lennon's emotionless face stares out from behind his trademark granny glasses. Inside the book, soft pastel circles appear everywhere. On some spreads, they are on the sidebars on which the text rests, accompanying an illustration. On others, they overtake the pages–sometimes as simple circles and other times incorporating themselves into the collage artwork, becoming records, or orange slices, or flashbulbs. Alternatively they trace over the illustrations, giving them a dreamlike appearance and reinforcing and celebrating Lennon's messages as his hopes for the world. Rappaport's text portrays him as a creative and tortured soul, referring only casually to his more controversial actions. His death is described simply as "murder" with no further details. His wishes for world peace and tolerance are reflected in most of the lyrics selected. This beautiful and stirring tribute will surely send readers to bookshelves and the music stores to learn more about the man.–Jane Marino, Bronxville Public Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gr. 4-8. The creators of Martin's Big Words (2001) use free-verse text and pictures that tumble across the pages to introduce Lennon to a new generation. As a child virtually abandoned by his parents, John found comfort in writing and drawing. Then rock and roll shook up his life, and a meeting with Paul McCartney sent it in a new direction. Lennon's life was a panorama of talent, inspiration, dreams, and despair, and making it manageable for young readers is a mighty task. In some respects Rappaport and Collier succeed. The bold collage and watercolor artwork will draw curious eyes, and the staccato text and song lyrics provide a solid biographical framework. But as a whole, the book is overwhelming. Kids familiar with the music are the best audience, of course. Those who have heard "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," for instance, will enjoy peering at the accompanying spread showing John surrounded by tangerine trees, whose fruit is replicated on his clothes (though here, the overriding color, maroon, doesn't fit the mood). Some spreads, like the one showing legs and feet crossing Abbey Road, will resonate only with kids who understand the reference. This will work best with Lennon's music playing in the background; kids will need that visceral connection to appreciate the textual and visual rhythms the book is trying to evoke. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
These inspirational words from John Lennon from his 1971 mega hit, "Imagine" beautifully underscore this book. The gentle illustrations of John as a young boy to the man he became are sure to delight all ages. This is a wonderful way to introduce children to the Chief Beatle, the man who founded the World's Number One Band as well as to see what influences helped John create the poignant lyrics that he did. John's sad classic, "Mother" was about how his natural mother Julia very reluctantly turned him over to her older sister and brother-in-law to raise; "Imagine" was the vision that John had for a peaceful world where we all live as one.
Please read this book and share it with somebody. It is not only a deeply moving book, it is one that will resonate in the heart and mind as well.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Everyone will recognize John Lennon on the front cover of this book and will want to collect this image...Read more