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Children's LiteratureThis title follows Johannes Brahms from his birth—into a poor family in Germany—to his death—as a famous and well-loved composer at the age of 64. Along the way, the reader learns about Brahms' family life, childhood talent, and his part-time job playing piano in a bar when he was a teenager. His friendships with the Hungarian violinist, Eduard Remenyi, and Robert and Clara Schumann influenced his life and music. The book also discusses how Brahms was compared to Beethoven because Beethoven died just a few years before Brahms was born. On the cover of the book, a cartoon with a big shadow of a Beethoven statuette glares down at Brahms playing the piano. The text is set in a large, clear type to help beginning readers and is well organized and entertaining to read. The book is filled with old photographs, paintings, sketches, and funny cartoons from the time of Brahms, but the author has also created a number of colorful cartoons, in a silly style, to enliven the text. This book is part of Grolier's "Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers" series, which includes books about Aaron Copland, The Beatles, Duke Ellington, Frederic Chopin, and others. 1999, Grolier Publishing, Ages 6 to 10.
—Sally J. K. Davies