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Play, Mozart, Play!
     

Play, Mozart, Play!

by Peter Sís, Peter Sis (Illustrator)
 

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Listen.
A little boy named
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
is playing the piano.

Look.
He is playing backward!
He is playing blindfolded!

Imagine.
What must his life be like?

Play, Mozart, play!

Acclaimed artist Peter S�s introduces very young children to the child genius Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in

Overview

Listen.
A little boy named
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
is playing the piano.

Look.
He is playing backward!
He is playing blindfolded!

Imagine.
What must his life be like?

Play, Mozart, play!

Acclaimed artist Peter S�s introduces very young children to the child genius Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in this picture book tribute to the beauty of listening, looking, imagining, and -- most of all -- playing!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Sis's (Starry Messenger) whimsical imagination is in full play here as he presents an intriguing if somewhat unsettling portrait of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's unconventional childhood. After learning that "His father turned him into a child sensation!" readers repeatedly view the man's hovering specter, represented by an often oversize, dark silhouette sternly wagging a finger at his young son as he commands him to "Practice, Mozart, practice!" The pressure placed on this young prodigy will not be lost on kids: rather than play with children, Mozart "played day and night. He played in his imagination. He played in his dreams. He played for his entire life." The text is minimal, taking a back seat to Sis's inventive, lively and eclectic black line and watercolor art. He incorporates a wild array of perspective, color, texture and imagery. In one striking, surreal spread, in which the youngster relentlessly practices the piano (while his father lurks, sentinel-like, at the door), objects from the room waft from the score he is playing, transformed into dreamlike images: a flute sprouts wings, a wax- covered candelabra acquires facial features, a cup and saucer spring to life. And, hauntingly, readers view a man's head submerged in water, only the eyes visible-perhaps a clue to the boy's sentiments about his demanding parent? A concluding biographical sketch offers some astounding particulars underscoring Mozart's genius: he learned his first musical piece in only 30 minutes just three days before he turned five, wrote his first composition that same year and played at European courts at the age of six. A virtuoso performance from a true maestro of his craft. Ages 3-up. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Sis introduces the composer "considered one of the greatest composers in the world" with a brief, simple text that concentrates on Mozart's unusual childhood. The pressure from his father for him to "play!" as he toured Europe performing for royalty, is clear. "He played for his entire life." The few words that summarize this life are extended and enriched here by the visuals. Many biographies of the composer are available, but this kind of visual accompaniment is not. Sis gives us a very young, smiling Mozart with large blue eyes and curly red hair, doing a handstand on oversize piano keys on the front jacket/cover. Inside he is playing away, frequently on a keyboard instrument, but also on the violin or flute. Both heavy and fine black ink lines and watercolors offer some detail of interiors and people amid broad backgrounds of texture and color. One ingenious double-page spread displays sheet music with pictures illustrating tempos and moods along with the notes; Another is a stage set, suggesting The Magic Flute but composed in a surreal fashion. Another spread displays six elaborate unfolded fans, each depicting in detail Mozart performing in one of the courts of Europe. Each double-page spread is a new visual adventure. Although the final page gives the facts of his life, the pages before project the true spirit of the extraordinary composer. 2006, Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins Publishers, and Ages 5 to 9.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Recognizing his son's talent at a very young age, Mozart's stern father resolutely "turned him into a child sensation!" The facts of the musician's childhood are familiar to many, but what sets this biographical picture book apart is its skill in introducing a world master to children in a way that is emotionally resonant, easily understood, and remarkably indelible. S's unerringly chooses details that will have the most relevance for his audience and then selects the cleverest means of illustrating them. The cover depicts the child Mozart playing the piano by turning handsprings on the keys, simultaneously playing and playing. His father, who dominated his life, is represented in dark silhouette, his authoritarian finger raised, looming over a tiny boy whose feet do not even touch the floor as he plays. Mozart's triumphant childhood concert tours through Europe are presented in trademark S's fashion, each city painted in miniature within a bubble superimposed on a map; the royalty before whom he played are depicted in small decorative fans. On most spreads, Mozart's shock of red hair and bright red vest give the diminutive prodigy the most visual weight and render him conspicuous. Illustrations give a hint of a unique boy who, despite a childhood of narrow restrictions, was released by the freedom he found in his music and his imagination. The clear, brief, readable text is augmented by a biographical afterword.-Kate McClelland, Perrot Memorial Library, Old Greenwich, CT Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In celebration of the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth, S's beautifully harmonizes words and illustration in a delightful and accessible biography of the composer for the picture-book audience. Fan motifs depict Mozart performing for the elite of Europe, while circle motifs highlight European cities where he and his sister played. Mozart's father is portrayed in black pen-and-ink that recalls S's's poster for the Broadway production of Amadeus. The counterpoint of the black and white for the voice of the father and watercolors in bright blues, reds and yellows for Mozart are highly effective. Images such as a trumpeting elephant for forte, Pamina as a feline soprano and Sarostro as a bass candle illustrate musical terms. These images return and grow in embellishment in two imaginative double-spreads as Mozart plays the piano for a lively rehearsal and the characters then perform The Magic Flute on stage, musical notes swirling about and above. Play a little Mozart and let readers enjoy this feast for the ears and eyes. (Picture book/biography. 4-7)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061121814
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
05/02/2006
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
9.20(w) x 10.20(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
3 Years

Meet the Author

Peter Sís is an internationally acclaimed author, artist, and filmmaker. Among his works are three Caldecott Honor books: The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain; Tibet: Through the Red Box; and Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei. He has illustrated five other novels by Sid Fleischman, including the Newbery Medal book The Whipping Boy. He lives with his family in New York State.

Peter Sís is an internationally acclaimed author, artist, and filmmaker. Among his works are three Caldecott Honor books: The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain; Tibet: Through the Red Box; and Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei. He has illustrated five other novels by Sid Fleischman, including the Newbery Medal book The Whipping Boy. He lives with his family in New York State.

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