Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Awards and Honors
Named an ALA notable book for 2003
A Parent's Guide Outstanding Book for 2002
A Horn Book Notable Book for 2002
A 20th-century composer whose music was so revolutionary his contemporaries largely ignored him may seem an unlikely subject for a picture-book biography for children, but here Gerstein has pulled it off beautifully. An unusual and joyful treatment of an unusual and joyful subject."
From Publishers Weekly:
Profiling American composer Charles Ives, Gerstein (The Wild Boy) plies an artistic style as densely and consciously layered as one of Ives's compositions. The illustrations provide an instant visual connection to the music, which attempts to encompass the sounds of everyday life: Gerstein overlays his spry pen-and-wash artwork with multiple clusters of sound-effect words (e.g., a series of tweety tweets surrounds a caged bird, big red clangs surround toddler Charlie as he bangs on a metal pan). "Charles Ives was born with his ears wide open," Gerstein begins, detailing the kinds of sounds "Charlie" might have heard as a child: sounds that would later be woven into Ives's music. The book concludes on a triumphant note: not only does Ives finally win acclaim, but he plans to write a Universe Symphony: "Wouldn't that be a glorious noise!" Gerstein creates a rousing visual cacophony that echoes Ives's compositions in this inspired picture-book biography.