Handel, Who Knew What He Liked
Handel, Who Knew What He Liked
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Annotation: In this biography, the man who would later compose some of the world's most beautiful music is shown to have once been a stubborn little boy with a mind of his own.
Genre: Biographies
Catalog Number: #5449623
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Copyright Date: 2001
Edition Date: 2013
Illustrator: Hawkes, Kevin,
Pages: 38 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-7636-6599-1
ISBN 13: 978-0-7636-6599-9
Dewey: 921
LCCN: 00057210
Dimensions: 24 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Horn Book
A clearly defined theme, a lively text, and stunning illustrations, many embellished with baroque-style frames, make this biography a fully integrated experience. The text strikes the right note between admiration and information. One marvels at the depth of a picture-book biography that includes, in addition to a compelling and witty text, a chronology of Handel's life, a discography, and suggestions for further reading.
Kirkus Reviews
Readers don't need to know anything about the composer to enjoy this lively biography, but it is hard to imagine anyone reading these pages who wouldn't want to run right out to hear the "Water Music" or a snatch of the "Messiah." Handel's father didn't want him to be a musician, but the boy snuck a clavichord into the attic and practiced in secret anyway. ("Not everyone has the courage to smuggle a clavichord past their parents.") Thanks to the intervention of a noble, Handel was allowed to begin training, but as a compromise, was forced to study law as well. He studied in various places in Germany, where he was born, traveled in Italy, but settled in England to write opera. As Anderson ( Burger Wuss , 1999, etc.) describes Handel's operas, "The characters would sing arias in Italian, some of the most beautiful music ever heard onstage. Then they would stab each other." Handel's duel with a friend, the success of the "Water Music" and the disaster of the "Royal Fireworks," and the final and continuous triumph of the "Messiah" are energetically reported in a light-hearted accounting. Hawkes ( Dial-a-Ghost , p. 741, etc.) employs 18th-century borders and patterns in his fulsomely colored acrylics: light and shadow are used to excellent effect, and humorous touches abound. Handel's father didn't want him to be a musician, but the boy snuck a clavichord into the attic and practiced in secret anyway. ("Not everyone has the courage to smuggle a clavichord past their parents.") Thanks to the intervention of a noble, Handel was allowed to begin training, but as a compromise, was forced to study law as well. He studied in various places in Germany, where he was born, traveled in Italy, but settled in England to write opera. As Anderson ( Burger Wuss , 1999, etc.) describes Handel's operas, "The characters would sing arias in Italian, some of the most beautiful music ever heard onstage. Then they would stab each other." Handel's duel with a friend, the success of the "Water Music" and the disaster of the "Royal Fireworks," and the final and continuous triumph of the "Messiah" are energetically reported in a light-hearted accounting. Hawkes ( Dial-a-Ghost , p. 741, etc.) employs 18th-century borders and patterns in his fulsomely colored acrylics: light and shadow are used to excellent effect, and humorous touches abound. Handel himself, with his cherubic face and large fuzzy white wig, bounds from almost every page, fairly glowing with good will and music. (chronology, discography, further adult reading) (Biography. 8-12)
Publishers Weekly

"In this irreverent picture-book biography, the legendary baroque composer is vividly brought to life," wrote PW in a starred review. "These gifted collaborators deserve a Hallelujah Chorus of their own." Ages 8-12. (Oct.)

School Library Journal
Gr 1-5 In this picture-book biography, both illustration and text are characterized by a saucy style, impeccable pacing, and a richness of content, and the two harmonize splendidly in a manner befitting the subject. Anderson's words and anecdotes are well chosen, and his sense of timing heightens impact whether describing mischievous childhood antics of the classical composer (the boy smuggling a clavichord past unsuspecting parents) or solemn occasions (the circumstances surrounding the creation and performances of the Messiah ). The author is also adept at conveying the spirit and flavor of Handel's music. Hawkes's highly textured acrylics manage to combine depth and drama with a great sense of fun. Double-page spreads display a shimmering River Thames during a performance of Water Music as well as ornate opera halls and drawing rooms. Close inspection of the scenes and the elaborately carved frames surrounding the text reveal comedic cameos. The attention to detail extends to a whimsical, scrolled Latin copyright message and graceful gold arabesques on the endpapers. Clear definitions of technical terms are embedded in decorative panels throughout. This performance is worthy of a standing ovation. Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 1-5-In this picture-book biography, both illustration and text are characterized by a saucy style, impeccable pacing, and a richness of content, and the two harmonize splendidly in a manner befitting the subject. Anderson's words and anecdotes are well chosen, and his sense of timing heightens impact whether describing mischievous childhood antics of the classical composer (the boy smuggling a clavichord past unsuspecting parents) or solemn occasions (the circumstances surrounding the creation and performances of the Messiah). The author is also adept at conveying the spirit and flavor of Handel's music. Hawkes's highly textured acrylics manage to combine depth and drama with a great sense of fun. Double-page spreads display a shimmering River Thames during a performance of Water Music as well as ornate opera halls and drawing rooms. Close inspection of the scenes and the elaborately carved frames surrounding the text reveal comedic cameos. The attention to detail extends to a whimsical, scrolled Latin copyright message and graceful gold arabesques on the endpapers. Clear definitions of technical terms are embedded in decorative panels throughout. This performance is worthy of a standing ovation.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Not so long ago, children's biographies of classical composers were as lively as marble busts and about as likely to be taken down from the shelf. Anderson and Hawkes' large-format, biographical picture book introduces George Frideric Handel and infuses the composer's story with warmth and color, humor and humanity. As a child, Handel is shown smuggling a clavichord into the attic. As a young man, he traveled through Italy, listening to concerts, church services, and opera; studying music; and composing his own. In England, he met success as a composer for royal entertainments, disappointment and ridicule as a producer of Italian opera, and immortality as the composer of the Messiah. Relating pithy stories with plain words and short sentences, Anderson never forgets his audience in his enthusiasm for his subject. Illustrating the scenes, Hawkes' lively acrylic paintings are beautifully composed, dramatically lit, and irresistibly appealing. Appended are a chronology, a discography, and suggestions of adult biographies for further reading.
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references (page 37) and index.
Reading Level: 4.0
Interest Level: 4-7
Reading Counts!: reading level:3.8 / points:3.0 / quiz:Q28351
Lexile: 780L
Guided Reading Level: S
Fountas & Pinnell: S

The award-winning work is reissued as a Candlewick Picture Book Biography.

George Frideric Handel always knew what he liked. And he was never afraid to do what he liked — whether smuggling a clavichord into the attic, sneaking off at a duke’s castle to play the organ, ordering forty-five pounds of snow to chill his wine, or writing operas that no one wanted to hear. Even in his darkest hour, when it seemed everyone and everything were against him, Handel stayed true to himself. And because he did, he has become one of the best-loved composers in the world. In this absorbing biography, M. T. Anderson’s narrative and Kevin Hawkes’s stunning art illuminate the life and legacy of a musical visionary.
Back matter includes a time line, discography, author’s note, sources, and an index.


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