Gr 6-8-Lively and packed with fascinating historical detail, these biographies fill a gap. Both books outline the lives and times of the composers with a novelist's aptitude for pacing, detail, and economy. Each volume is confined to five brief chapters, and could easily be read in a single sitting, yet readers will gain a full sense of the man's character, talents, and foibles. Chapters conclude with a page of "FYInfo" that fleshes out a tangential but significant detail-Goethe's influence on Haydn, Mozart's childhood battle with smallpox-to provide broader historical and cultural context for each man's life and work. These are thoroughly modern takes on the composers' lives; Bankston cleverly compares Mozart's prodigious fame to that of present-day pop stars, and readers can appreciate Haydn's quiet insistence on writing music without regard for popularity or financial gain as the mark of creative integrity. Each volume includes nicely rendered, full-color illustrations; a list of selected works; a useful chronology of the composer's life and historical time line; and a fine glossary of musical and historical terms. The indexes are rudimentary but functional. The further reading lists, which include a variety of print and Internet resources, merit special mention for their thoroughness.-Sophie R. Brookover, Mount Laurel Library, NJ Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.