Mister Rogers’ Gift of Music

Page Street. Aug. 2022. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781645674702.
K-Gr 2–Debut author Cangelosi pens a story of Fred Rogers’s relationship to music and how he connected it with emotional learning. As a child, Rogers had asthma, a condition that isolated him from his peers. He was also the victim of frequent bullying. At the age of five he began to play the piano, thus beginning his lifelong love of music, and his eventual discovery that it could lead to healing. The story then jumps from his childhood straight to the creation of Rogers’s television show and how he used his unique songwriting abilities to connect with children around the world. The illustrations, largely in watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil, bring readers into the world of Mister Rogers and his neighborhood of imagination with love and care. The characters, puppets and humans alike, are immediately recognizable and remarkably detailed and accurate. Music shines through the pages with swirling colors, shapes, and song lyrics, while the lower moments of Rogers’s childhood are depicted in tones of gray.
VERDICT While other picture book biographies offer a more complete picture of this icon’s life, the focus on the musical elements, along with the wondrous illustrations, make this a recommended purchase.

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