The Beatles Were Fab (and They Were Funny)

Overview


Q: How do you find all this business of having screaming girls following you all over the place?
George: Well, we feel flattered . . .
John: . . . and flattened.

When the Beatles burst onto the music scene in the early 1960s, they were just four unknown lads from Liverpool. But soon their off-the-charts talent and offbeat humor made them the most famous band on both sides of the Atlantic. Lively, informative ...

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Overview


Q: How do you find all this business of having screaming girls following you all over the place?
George: Well, we feel flattered . . .
John: . . . and flattened.

When the Beatles burst onto the music scene in the early 1960s, they were just four unknown lads from Liverpool. But soon their off-the-charts talent and offbeat humor made them the most famous band on both sides of the Atlantic. Lively, informative text and expressive, quirky paintings chronicle the phenomenal rise of Beatlemania, showing how the Fab Four’s sense of humor helped the lads weather everything that was thrown their way—including jelly beans.

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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post - Abby McGanney Nolan
…a loving tribute to the music [the Beatles] made and the quick wits they revealed whenever they spoke…Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer first offer a lively and understandably abbreviated version of the band's formation…and then give a sense of the infectious sound and other factors that sparked Beatlemania. Stacy Innerst's fab acrylic-and-ink illustrations mix appealing caricatures of the band with surreal visions of their lives…
Publishers Weekly
The trio behind Lincoln Tells a Joke crafts a witty chronicle of the Beatles’s rise to fame, with special attention to their humor and nonchalance. Innerst contributes playful caricatures using thick, blotchy acrylics, while Krull and Brewer speckle the story with anecdotes, including the band’s particular fondness for jelly babies (jelly beans were the closest American approximation) and their famously cheeky responses to press questions (“Q: What do you do when you’re cooped up in a hotel room? George: We ice-skate”). The authors make it clear that, even as Beatlemania waned, the Beatles were just beginning to define themselves; an illustration riffing on the cover of Abbey Road pictures a more mature John, Paul, Ringo, and George, hinting at their future experimentation and introspection. Readers will certainly want to hear the songs that “changed music forever”—maybe even on vinyl. Ages 6–9. (Mar.)
From the Publisher

"Kids new to the Beatles might wonder what's the ado, but put on an LP, and they'll probably start bouncing to the beat."
Booklist

"Youngsters wondering why the band is still beloved by their parents and grandparents will understand after reading the many humorous anecdotes."
Horn Book

"The trio behind Lincoln Tells a Joke crafts a witty chronicle of the Beatles's rise to fame, with special attention to their humor and nonchalance. . . . Readers will certainly want to hear the songs that 'changed music forever'—maybe even on vinyl."
Publishers Weekly

"A fun and nostalgic look at the 1960s."
School Library Journal

"Grandparents and near-retirement educators will join kids in giggling over Krull's playful jibes at the starstruck fans and may have a few stories of their own about the Fab Four."
Bulletin

Children's Literature - Shirley Nelson
The quote from Kurt Vonnegut on the flyleaf is an apt introduction to the story of four young men from Liverpool, England who changed the face of pop music in the 1960s. The talented musicians officially became the Beatles in 1960. While popular in England and Germany, they did not become popular in the United States until 1964 when "I Want to Hold Your Hand" topped the charts. After their appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, one of the most watched television shows ever, Beatlemania swept the nation and the world. At the packed concerts their music could hardly be heard above the screaming fans. This illustrated book follows John, Paul, George, and Ringo as they deal with their new found fame. The text is interspersed with snippets of interviews showing the wittiness of The Beatles, particularly concerning the many questions about their haircuts. The whimsical illustrations are a fitting accompaniment to the text. A list of important dates and related sources appears at the end. Beatles fans young and old will enjoy this entertaining and informative picture book which introduces the Fab Four to a new generation as the popularity of their music continues. Reviewer: Shirley Nelson
School Library Journal
Gr 3–5—This big, bright, bold picture book introduces the Beatles and describes their fan culture. The authors have used actual quotes from the "Fab Four" to demonstrate their self-deprecating humor. It comes through loud and strong. The rise to fame happens quickly and seems almost as unbelievable today as it did in the Beatles' glory days. Many songs, concert dates, and crazy details are included. A time line covers major happenings but strangely leaves out when Ringo joined the band. One double-page illustration alludes to the famous Abbey Road album and Apple Records, but nothing in the text gives that information, so it would be left to adults, probably grandparents, to share their knowledge with younger readers. Likewise the use of 45 rpm records in the illustrations and the reaction to the Beatle haircuts calls for some explanation as well. This title could well develop cross-generational sharing or new fans for the Beatles and their music. A fun and nostalgic look at the 1960s.—Erlene Bishop Killeen, Stoughton Area School District, WI
Kirkus Reviews
Many adult readers will agree wholeheartedly with the title of this heartfelt paean to the Fab Four, but unfortunately, Krull and Brewer don't quite manage to offer enough evidence to effectively convey to children the Beatles' unique appeal and immense contributions to pop culture. The narrative is straightforward. From their early years in Liverpool through their first big hit, the rapturous response they received in the U.S. and their eventual decision to go their separate ways, the trajectory of the Beatles' incredible success is clearly plotted. Quirky details suggest that serious research informs the text. Unfortunately some sweeping statements may leave young listeners wondering just why the Beatles were considered "so cool, so funny, so fab." Innerst's accomplished acrylic-and-ink illustrations also seem more geared toward nostalgic adults. Exaggerated features and odd perspectives abound. Visual jokes and references enrich the paintings and extend the text, as when the band appears on a roller coaster formed by a guitar case plastered with stickers, but will almost certainly go over the heads of the intended audience. Parents and (more likely) grandparents who want to introduce children to their favorite band would do better to play a song or two on whatever device is handy--though as Brewer and Krull note, the transformative impact of the Beatles was such that kids may not even recognize the originality of their music. (Informational picture book. 7-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547509914
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 3/19/2013
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 260,841
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: AD860L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

KATHLEEN KRULL and PAUL BREWER are a husband-and-wife writing team. Kathleen is well known for her innovative, award-winning nonfiction for young readers; Paul is also an illustrator. They live in San Diego, California. www.kathleenkrull.com   www.paulbrewer.com

 

STACY INNERST is an acclaimed, award-winning editorial artist and the illustrator of several acclaimed picture books, including Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer's Lincoln Tells a Joke and Tony Johnston's Levi Straus Gets a Bright Idea. He lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. www.stacyinnerst.com
 

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