CLARA SCHUMANN

PIANO VIRTUOSO

Extremely well-researched and presented, this sumptuous book presents the extraordinary career of Schumann, who was more celebrated during her lifetime than her composer husband, Robert, was. Born in 1819 to a tyrannical father who used her talent to promote his own reputation as a music teacher, Clara was a musical prodigy who captivated Europe from the time she was nine years old until her death. Throughout her life she defied the 19th-century conventions that routinely subdued women. While the author sets forth Clara’s vibrant career thoroughly, the central strength of her book comes from her portrayal of Clara’s tumultuous domestic life. First, she and Robert rebelled against Clara’s father, eventually going to court for permission to marry. Later, Robert’s struggles with depression and mental illness intensified the tension under which the devoted couple lived. Yet, this mother of eight children continued to perform, compose music, and teach, helping to lay the foundations for much of today’s classical music world. The book is heavily illustrated with drawings, playbills, and photographs from Clara’s life. Anyone interested in music history or in women’s history will find a compelling story well told here. (index, not seen, b&w reproductions and photos, chronology, source notes) (Biography. 10-16)

Pub Date: April 19, 1999

ISBN: 0-395-89199-1

Page Count: 111

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1999

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THE QUILTMAKER'S GIFT

A sentimental tale overwhelmed by busy illustrations and rampant pedantry. A gifted quiltmaker who makes outstanding quilts never sells her wares, but gives them away to the poor. A greedy king so loves presents that he has two birthdays a year, and commands everyone in the kingdom to give him gifts. Everyone brings presents till the castle overflows; the king, still unhappy, locates the quiltmaker and directs her to make him a quilt. When she refuses he tries to feed her to a hungry bear, then to leave her on a tiny island, but each time the quiltmaker’s kindness results in her rescue. At last, the king agrees to a bargain; he will give away his many things, and the quiltmaker will sew him a quilt. He is soon poor, but happier than he’s ever been, and she fulfills her end of the bargain; they remain partners forever after, with her sewing the quilts and him giving them away. The illustrations are elaborate, filled with clues to quilt names. A note points to the 250 different quilt names hidden in the picture on the inside of the book jacket. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 1-57025-199-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1999

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LAUGH-ETERIA

Florian’s seventh collection of verse is also his most uneven; though the flair for clever rhyme that consistently lights up his other books, beginning with Monster Motel (1993), occasionally shows itself—“Hello, my name is Dracula/My clothing is all blackula./I drive a Cadillacula./I am a maniacula”—too many of the entries are routine limericks, putdowns, character portraits, rhymed lists that fall flat on the ear, or quick quips: “It’s hard to be anonymous/When you’re a hippopotamus.” Florian’s language and simple, thick-lined cartoons illustrations are equally ingenuous, and he sticks to tried-and-true subjects, from dinosaurs to school lunch, but the well of inspiration seems dry; revisit his hilarious Bing Bang Boing (1994) instead. (index) (Poetry. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-202084-5

Page Count: 158

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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