Monday, August 8, 2011

Before There Was Mozart - Lesa Cline-Ransome, James E. Ransome

Before There Was Mozart by Lesa Cline-Ransome illus. by James E. Ransome
This is a biography about Joesph Boulogne a not so well known classical artist. Joesph was born in 1739, his mother was a slave and his father a plantation owner. He was exposed to music at an early age and given violin lessons. When Joesph was nine the three moved to Paris where slavery was banned. Once in Paris, Joesph's father gave him the title, Chevalier de Saint George. To get along in Paris society a title was necessary.

I loved that the chapters were called movements. A favorite fact learned.

"On his twenty -first birthday, Joesph was given a beautiful and costly violin, made by Nicolo Amati, teacher of the world famous violin maker Stradivari"

Ransome's illustrations have an elegant and sophisticated feel, fitting the text perfectly. This is a very good introduction to Joseph Boulogne, Chevalier de Saint George. With non fiction picture books I believe a time line is essential, especially if the subject is not well known. There is no timeline, though the author does include an author's note.

Sometimes comparing books can't be helped. While reading this I found myself thinking about the other biography on Joesph Boulogne, "The Other Mozart" by Hugh Brewster. I couldn't stop thinking about it, so I checked out The Other Mozart from the library to see how they matched up.

The two compliment each other very well. Before There Was Mozart is targeting a younger audience. I could easily see someone, reading Ransome's first, then moving onto the Brewster's for more on Joseph Boulogne life.

An excerpt

I've linked this post to Non Fiction Monday. This weeks round up can be found at Apples with Many Seeds.


Em said...

I love when James and Lesa work together! They are wonderful people, amazing artists, and strong collaborators.

Doret said...

Same here, I love their biographies.

Tammy Flanders said...

Thanks for recommendation and participating in today's Nonfiction Monday event.

Books4Learning said...

Nice review! Great topic. :)

GatheringBooks said...

Oh wow, looks like a riveting read. I recalled reading a book before that called each chapter "slices" - it's quite inspired that here they're called 'movements.' So nice. Thanks for sharing!