Thursday, June 1, 2017

Becoming Bach by Tom Leonard

Cover image for Becoming BachAt the library we have been assigned to prepare book talks that we can video record for the school librarians.  We must choose one picture book, one nonfiction, one intermediate or comic book and one fiction novel.  The books have to have been published in the last year. 

For my nonfiction I found this beautifully illustrated picture book biography in which Leonard gives the reader a glimpse into the early life and musical legacy of Johann Sebastian Bach. The spare text --there are only a few lines per page-- is written in first person, as if Bach is telling his own story. He relates how he was orphaned at a young age and was raised by an older brother.  He became a professional musician quite young, and lived his whole life within 200 miles of his birthplace. The text is good and very accessible, but the thing that makes this book amazing is the illustrations. Leonard is clearly trying to portray with color and line the beauty and complexity of Bach's music. Sometimes multi-colored musical staves, or flowery patterns, swirl through the illustrations.  In other pictures, the images themselves are made with musical notes.  I think Leonard does a great job suggesting Bach's music, and I think it would be wonderful to read the book with some of Bach's music playing in the background. (32 p.)

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