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

illus. by Stacy Innerst. 48p. bibliog. chron. Calkins Creek. Sept. 2016. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781629790992.
RedReviewStarK-Gr 4—Slade teams up with Innerst for this pleasant picture book biography of composer George Gershwin, with a focus on Gershwin's introduction to music as a child and the various influences that led to his unique musical style. The culmination of the story is the creation and performance of his grand composition Rhapsody in Blue, in 1924. Innerst's acrylic spreads are almost entirely done in blue and gray tones, with broad brushstrokes, scanned textiles, and paper adding texture; each scene is striking. Slade's narrative is highly readable and lightly peppered with musical onomatopoeia. She vividly describes the sounds of New York City and the "rattle-ty bang" of the railroad train that inspired Gershwin to write his famed piece. Rather than offering an overview of his relatively short life, Slade provides a deeper look into his creative process and the ways in which he melded classical, ragtime, jazz, and blues to create a sound purely his own. Key phrases inked in script among the typed words weave the illustrations and text together. Terms such as staccato are defined by their very placement and spacing on the page. A detailed author's note, time line, and bibliography add further depth to this well-researched work.
VERDICT Readers will get a glimpse into Gershwin's mind and find the music within. Highly recommended for purchase.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


Community matters. Stay up to date on breaking news, trends, reviews, and more.

Get access to 6000+ annual reviews of books, databases, and more

As low as $12/month