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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061236273
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/03/2009
Pages: 40
Sales rank: 120,241
Product dimensions: 8.70(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile: AD710L (what's this?)
Age Range: 5 - 10 Years

About the Author

Lemony Snicket had an unusual education which may or may not explain his ability to evade capture. He is the author of the 13 volumes in A Series of Unfortunate Events, several picture books including The Dark, and the books collectively titled All The Wrong Questions.

Carson Ellis is the illustrator of a number of books for children, including the Wildwood Chronicles, and is the author and illustrator of the picture books Du Iz Tak?, a Caldecott Honor winner, and Home. Carson lives just outside Portland, Oregon, with her family.


Snicket is something of a nomad. Handler lives in San Francisco, California.

Date of Birth:

February 28, 1970

Place of Birth:

Handler was born in San Francisco in 1970, and says Snicket's family has roots in a land that's now underwater.


Handler is a 1992 graduate of Wesleyan University in Connecticut.

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The Composer is Dead 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
LukeyLover More than 1 year ago
I LOVE this book! It rings so true to what a real orchestra is like. Everything, well almost everything, about the string section is SO true! I felt like I was reading about my own orchestra at times! I would definitely recommend this to older children or teens, even adults. This is certainly not a book for young children. I would recommend this book to music students and ESPECIALLY as a gift to orchestra directors!! :D
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is great!! If you like music than you will love this book!! Even if you dont like music you will love it. Lemony Snicket is an awesome author. That is why you should read this!!!!!
Conflicted More than 1 year ago
The Composer is Dead, when you first hear the name, probably doesn't sound very nice. But in today's scociety of fear of the mention a needles and blood, it is actually a refreahing title. However, I was quite surprised. Unlike Mr. Snicket's previous tale involving a potato pancake, it is actaully entertaining. It is quite different from today's need for facts, as similar to tales of old this story has talking instruments. The inspector is a dashing man who is quick to make you laugh, and the intruments have very interesting personalities. When read by itself, the story is cute and silly. But when you play the needed CD that comes with it, it becomes a whole new story. The book is incomplete without, believe me. With the CD, it is as if the whole thing is taking place right next to you, and you are there for all the facts you can get. This book also introduces a possible new method of story telling for the future with the CD. Plus, if you're feeling a little lazy, you can just pop the CD into your player and go about you buisness, leaving the story to play. Of course, you'd be missing out on the wonderful art style if you did that. In an intersting twist, the story has a meaning, yet not a moral. There is a lesson learned, yet all it will do is open your eyes to the world, not change your veiw of it. If you're only going to buy one book with an Audio CD in it, make sure this is it. Sincerly, The Conflicted Reviewer
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you love music, and mystery, this book is right for you! A hilariously funny and shockingly true representation of the stereotypical orchestra, this book is not only able to amuse the common spectator but also succeeds in keeping the attention of those of us who are a little more musically inclined. Backed by great music and an interesting twist on a classic 'who done it' storyline, this book is truly, one of a kind.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I mean im a huge snicket fan but this isnt the best book ive seen better from snicket but still huge snicket fan not the best book
rr56 More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful, funny, informative book. If you like music, mystery and puns, this is a book for you. You don't even have to be a child to enjoy it. I have shared this with everyone I know, who has children or loves music! Will it ever replace Peter and the Wolf as the standard for educating children about the part of the orchestra, who knows? It is a most singular book!
dorothyNY More than 1 year ago
I absolutely LOVED this book! It is clever, funny, educational, suspicious, engaging, and about dead composers. What more could a young child need?! As a Violist, I have to be a little taken aback, but honestly, it was a wonderful book and CD. My 13-year old daughter and I will have a hard time giving up this book to my 4-year old nephew who we originally bought it for. One prior reviewer said it was only appropriate for older kids, but I wholly disagree. Kids can handle more than you think, and this is entertaining and educational on very many levels. I personally think it was the clarinets who did it.
Bex_The_Babe More than 1 year ago
The title is definitely a bit creepy, but I got such a kick out of reading it. If you have ever played an instrument or been in a band/orchestra, then you will appreciate this book. Lots of "grown up" inside jokes. Would not recommend for young children. I'd say it's more of a picture book for adults/teens, but olders kids might like it too. Would make a great gift for a musician or a music teacher.
petajaye on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love the mixture of mystery, and clever humor in Lemony Snicket's stories. This is yet another. A interesting way to introduce orchestra instruments and musical composition to young students. An added feature is the accompanying CD that narrates the story with original music by Nathaniel Stookey.
Joles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is a must for all music teachers. The CD reads through the book and offers some great examples of the instrument families. The book itself, while geared towards children, offers a laugh or two for the adults reading it.
kivarson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one more jem from the mysterious and loquacious Lemony Snicket. The Composer is dead and it is up to the Inspector to find out which musician has orchestrated this event. Although I've classified this as a children's book, it is likely to be best enjoyed by adults:"The Violins answered first, of course. The violin section is divided into the First Violins, who have the trickier parts to play, and the Second Violins, who are more fun at parties."
sweetiegherkin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
By examining the death of a composer, a police investigator takes the reader through a tour of the musical instruments that make up an orchestra. This book is not nearly as good as the young adult novels in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, although as a book for a younger audience, The Composer is Dead has much less space to flesh out more of Snicket's talent. However, like A Series of Unfortunate Events, this book is not an inane children's story that adults will find tiresome, but a sardonically funny tale that might even be more interesting to adults than children. Nonetheless, the rhythm of the language (reminiscent of Dr. Seuss himself at times) will entertain small children, even if they don't get all of the tongue-in-cheek jokes put in by Snicket. The illustrations in this book are a bit of a let-down after those in the Series of Unfortunate Events' books, but they are fitting with the story. This book also includes a CD, which contains an audio version of the book (narrated by Snicket) and original orchestration (not by Snicket). Both of these pieces are fine gems to add to an already delightful book.
gildallie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was expecting this to be pretty spooky due to it being written by Lemony Snickett, but it turns out quite nicely. It has an 1800¿s feel, mainly due to the art being created to look so. The story is narrated by a Sherlock-type of detective interrogating the various sections of the orchestra about what happened to the composer, taking us on through the various attributes of the sections. In the end it turns out, no one and everyone killed the composer- because it¿s about all the dead composers who created wonderful music and the various orchestra¿s that ¿butchered¿ them. It comes with a CD of music (which I didn¿t get a chance to listen to) that is supposed to give samples of what the author is talking about. All is meant to help develop an interest in the orchestra and the music played by it. It is accompanied by a disk, which I was not able to listen to.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
lovelybookshelf More than 1 year ago
I've had Lemony Snicket's The Composer Is Dead on my to-read list for a while, only familiar with bits and pieces of it. My library got it in for me via interlibrary loan, and now I know I must purchase a copy to have at the house. Although this musical murder mystery can be read on its own as a picture book, I feel The Composer Is Dead really needs to be experienced as a complete package: audio and book. Set aside time (30 minutes) to really listen, take in and enjoy the music that occurs around the words of the story. Listeners will experience the instruments of the orchestra, musical terms such as waltz and cadenza, discover how the orchestra tunes, and learn a slew of names of famous (and dead) composers. Best of all, we are treated to the deliciously dark humor of Lemony Snicket. Word plays abound, and there are a number of inside jokes musicians will appreciate (flutes imitating birds, forgotten violas, loud trumpets). The Composer Is Dead is written and narrated by Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler) and illustrated by Carson Ellis; the music is written by American composer Nathaniel Stookey and performed by the San Franciso Symphony. This brilliant and exciting work proves that classical music can be enjoyable and accessible to all audiences while keeping its musical standards high.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a picture book. A good one.
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