The Beatles Couldn’t Read Music?

Norton. (Wait! What?). Sept. 2023. 144p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781324052166.
Gr 3-5–Gutman, an expert at merging humor with history, presents another biography in his “Wait! What?” series, this time exploring the careers of the “Fab Four.” Like the previous volumes, this book’s content consists of casual dialogue between siblings Paige and Turner, as the two trade fun facts and fascinating tidbits on the subjects. While they claim they do not tell “the whole story,” the information presented is fairly comprehensive, covering the origin of the band, each member’s life, their fame, and their lasting impact. The benign and silly, such as Lennon’s mother’s nickname for him of “Stinker,” due to his unapologetic flatulence, merges seamlessly with the profound, such as Lennon and McCartney’s shared experience of losing their mothers at an early age. Steinfeld’s black-and-white illustrations break up the text, along with quotes from other celebrities about the band’s impact on their lives. Unlike some of the other titles, Gutman offers no additional references or resources, telling readers simply to check out the “thousands of books, videos, and websites” on the topic.
VERDICT Regardless of a glib handling of back-up material, this introduction to the famous band is spot-on for reluctant readers and fans of the wildly popular short-chapter book biography format.

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