The Music in George's Head: George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody in Blue

Suzanne Slade, illus. by Stacy Innerst. Calkins Creek, $17.95 (48p) ISBN 978-1-62979-099-2
Through evocative storytelling, expressive hand-lettered text, and dynamic paintings, Slade (The Inventor's Secret) and Innerst (Thomas Jefferson Grows a Nation) explore the making of Gershwin's acclaimed "Rhapsody in Blue" in an account that's as "lively, fun, and different" as the works the composer wrote. Slade describes how music captivated George from an early age, spending hours at the family piano, sneaking into concert halls to hear famous pianists, and selling his first song at age 17. Fittingly, Innerst uses swathes of indigo blue paint in images that seem to sway with the music George heard around him. Even the typography gets in on the action, changing colors, switching to cursive, or blaring words in capital letters to reflect the musical influences Gershwin drew on. "The notes were restless, untamed. The rhythms were wild. Unpredictable," writes Slade as the e at the end of unpredictable launches itself into the air, as if to prove the point. An afterword and timeline round out a rousing look at one of the defining contributions to the Great American Songbook. Ages 9–11. Author's agent: Karen Grencik, Red Fox Literary. Illustrator's agent: Susan Cohen, Writers House. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 10/03/2016
Release date: 09/01/2016
Genre: Children's
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