I, Vivaldi

Janice Shefelman, Author , illus. by Tom Shefelman. Eerdmans $18 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8028-5318-9

Gloriously painted cityscapes of Venice and the Piazza San Marco steal the show in the Shefelmans' (A Peddler's Dream ) biography of composer Antonio Vivaldi. The husband-and-wife team takes readers from the musician's birth (on the day of an earthquake) to his ordination as a priest (“People began calling me the Red Priest for the color of my hair. Red Violinist would be better”) and his later work as a conductor at a girls' orphanage. The first-person narration offers an accessible and personable view of Vivaldi's intense passion for music. The author improvises where facts are scarce, e.g., her account has Vivaldi's mother promising her newborn son to the priesthood when he survives a dangerous breathing problem. Stunning ink-and-watercolor scenes evoke the ornate, shadowy church interiors and gilded ornamentation of 17th-century Venice. One breathtaking exterior panorama of the Church of San Marco, featuring its myriad of columns and statues, offers a particularly good example of the artist's detailed yet softly edged style, and compensates for the sometimes odd proportions of the characters. A noteworthy picture book biography. Ages 7-11. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 02/11/2008
Release date: 00/00/0000
Genre: Children's
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