FICTION

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.
COPY ISBN
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.

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