- Age Range: 5 - 8 years
- Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
- Lexile Measure: AD770L (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 32 pages
- Publisher: Tricycle Press (February 8, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1582463263
- ISBN-13: 978-1582463261
- Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.3 x 10.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #937,430 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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For the Love of Music: The Remarkable Story of Maria Anna Mozart Hardcover – February 8, 2011
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From School Library Journal
Grade 2–4—Maria Anna Walpurga Ignatia Mozart was a musical prodigy in her own right and shared considerable childhood fame with her younger brother, Wolfgang. This picture-book biography quickly sketches the siblings' close relationship and their long European concert tour and then goes on to tell in greater detail about her quiet growing-up and adult years as her brother quickly rose to prominence. Rusch organizes the account into short segments labeled with musical terms designating the units of a sonata—"The First Movement," "Allegro," "Development," "Cadenza," "Finale." The concluding author's note, "Encore," is a two-page biography threaded with explanations of the 18th-century limitations on women's participation in the music world. Johnson and Fancher add warmth and texture to the story, blending collage and painting on canvas. Costumes and backgrounds incorporate brocade fragments, and bits of music scores frame carriages, musical instruments, and building features. Text is on inset pages that appear to be crumbling and fading, as though taken from a very old book. Catherine Brighton's picture book Mozart, Scenes from the Childhood of the Great Composer (Doubleday, 1990) is narrated by Nannerl, as she was called by her family, and gives a richer account of the famous childhood tour. Maria's long, relatively uneventful life, emphasized here, is hardly the remarkable story promised in the subtitle, but this attractive book offers a peek at women's history and will serve where more is needed on the Mozarts.—Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
One of the most celebrated pianists of her time, Mozart’s elder sister, Maria Anna, is largely unsung in our day. Rusch follows the structure of a piano sonata in this picture-book biography, from the First Movement, when the sibling child geniuses are discovered, through their sforzando and fermata periods, to the Finale, which finds Maria left behind by Wolfgang’s fame and early death. The strict musical form feels forced and interferes with the natural flow of the text; a more fluid, complete, and interesting telling of Maria Anna’s story appears in an appended, two-page author’s note. More deserving of applause are the accomplished illustrations, which interpret the 200-year-old atmosphere with vivid detail and set the central characters against a collage background of rich fabrics and musical notation. With few youth titles available about Maria Anna, this attractive offering fills a gap in youth collections. Grades 1-3. --Andrew Medlar
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Top Customer Reviews
This book provides a glimpse into the mind and heart of a brother and sister who not only shared a love for music, but love for each other. A great story about finding a way to pursue one's dreams whatever the limitations life puts on you. I highly recommend this book.
Like her more famous brother, Maria Anna (usually known by her nickname, Nannerl), showed an early gift for music. Her father was a court musician, and the house was filled with music. Her brother, Wolfgang, was born when she was five, and by the time she was ten, the two of them were giving concerts all over Europe. She, too, was considered one of the great pianists of Europe, and the family toured for three years. She was the first to write down her brother's compositions, and his first duets were for the two of them to play together. But by the time of their next tour, Maria was left at home with her mother, although she continued performing in private concerts and even composed her own music (sadly, none of her own music survives). Without saying so directly, the book makes it clear that Maria did not have the opportunities of her brother; she eventually married and moved to a tiny town far from Salzburg, taking her piano with her. At the end of her life, she moved back to Salzburg, where she taught piano to many children. The book concludes with a moving scene of Maria as an elderly lady, making music with her nephew, Wolfgang's son.
Author Elizabeth Rusch, together with illustrator/designers Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson, have constructed a design for this picture book biography that pays tribute to the elegant perfection we associate with Mozart's piano music. The illustrations are collages of remnants of 18th century style fabric, reproductions of Mozart's letters and musical scores, along with oil and acrylic paintings on canvas. The elaborate fabrics in the 18th century clothing worn by the figures in the paintings is echoed in the patchwork remnants which surround the printed text. Moreover, the narrative is written in sonata-allegro form, the musical structure which underlies classical sonatas. In other words, the narrative is divided into movements in lieu of short chapters: first movement, development, recapitulation, coda, etc. This sophistication will go completely over the heads of young children who are not immersed in classical music lessons, but is not entirely necessary to enjoy the story. This book can therefore be enjoyed on several levels, one requiring some musical knowledge and sophistication, but also just on the level of a compelling story of an unsung musical genius of the 18th century.
The book includes an afterword with additional biographical information on Maria, as well as a brief bibliography.
Tweens and other young readers interested in learning more about Mozart's gifted sister should seek out Carolyn Meyer's excellent novel, In Mozart's Shadow: His Sister's Story (Harcourt, 2008).
I really loved how the book's segments were divided using musical terms.
The idea of families helping and loving one another was great too. Even famous people have FAMILIES, who help and love each other.
Please more outstanding picture books like this.