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Children's LiteratureIt is hard for a young person today to identify with a boy who performed masterfully on the harpsichord at age six and composed at age five, especially when paintings of the day characteristically painted children to look like small adults. The one classical instrument today's youngsters might find invigorating—the trumpet—was hated by Mozart. He didn't like its harsh sound. On one point, though, Mozart's 21st century peers might find something in common: his father wanted him to spend more time perfecting his piano skills and no time flirting with a girlfriend. The information about Mozart's childhood and young adult life is presented in short, easily read sections surrounded by paintings, prints and quotes from newspapers of the time or Mozart's letters. We learn very quickly how sad and unpredictable life could be: Mozart's mother gave birth to six children, but only two survived. Mozart himself was dead by the age of 35. We learn of his connections to other great musicians—Mozart met the son of Johann Sebastian Bach as well as Beethoven and dedicated several pieces to Joseph Haydn. The book may focus on Mozart but it provides an excellent overview of music and the arts in the world of 18th century Europe. A timeline, glossary, index and additional resources make the book perfect for biographical research but it is also an easy book to leaf through, learning from pictures and reading from beginning to end or just reading scattered paragraphs of interest. 2004, Raintree, Ages 7 to 14.