Mozart the Wonder Child: A Pupper Play in Three Acts
Monday, February 2, 2009
When I was a kid I remember fondly watching the movie "Amadeus". It was brilliantly creative and powerfully delivered and has stuck with me to this day. In fact, it's one of the best films I've ever seen. That's why I was drawn to Harper Collins' children's book Mozart: The Wonder Child: A Puppet Play in Three Acts. Even though I cannot introduce my daughters to Mozart through the movie I love so much quite yet, I was thrilled that they can get a real sense of who he was in this fabulous new children's book.
The author, Diane Stanley, takes children through three major phases of Mozart's life -- his early childhood, young adulthood and maturity. Using the theme of a play and inspired by Salzburg Marionettes, Stanley creates a world of eighteenth century aristocracy, royalty, music, and tragedy. Despite Mozart: The Wonder Child being a book for children, Stanley isn't afraid to introduce themes of death, poverty, and oppression to young minds, yet she is careful to frame these themes in a way that aren't disturbing to young children, but instead infuses them beautifully into Mozart's authentic story.
Mozart: The Wonder Child is the perfect book to introduce your children to the brilliant composer the world still marvels over. After I read the book to my daughters who are 10 and 8, I went directly to the Internet and pulled up some of Mozart's most recognizable pieces and let them simply listen. Doing that helped to make the story even more vibrant and the illustrations that much more real. As they listened I re-read Stanley's story of Mozart's compelling, yet tragic life and the second time around my daughters got even a better sense of Mozart's contribution to music and art.
As a parent, I love that Stanley sought to educate children about the time in which Mozart lived with facts sprinkled throughout the book about everything from instruments to countries in Europe. Mozart: The Wonder Child is a marvelous book not only because it is written in great detail and on a level that children will surely comprehend, but because it is highly educational and also beautifully illustrated. Stanley's delicate, yet intricate illustrations also help brilliantly weave together Mozart's story.
- Jennifer James, Editor
Sleep is for the Weak: Brilliant Essays, One-Dimemsional
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Seventy-five years from now when our granddaughters are tracing the history of mom blogs, undoubtedly they will clamor to Sleep Is for the Weak: The Best of the Mommybloggers Including Amalah, Finslippy, Fussy, Woulda Coulda Shoulda, Mom-101, and More! (Blogher Book), edited by Rita Arens as their ubiquitous starting point. They will hail it as the first anthology specifically about mommyblogging and it will forever deserve its rightful place in history as one of the first instances when mom blogs became tangible.
The mom bloggers whose writing is featured in Sleep is for the Weak are without question the cream of the crop in the rapidly expanding world of mommyblogging. Their names and online handles are perpetually on the link lists of devoted fans, and when new moms join the ranks of mom bloggers they quickly realize that, yes, these moms are the ones who started it all. They are the ones who blogged before free products dazzled the socks off moms, before ad dollars could pay for vacations and months worth of daycare, and before moms turned blogging into full-time jobs. These moms are the early pioneers. And it shows.
The mom bloggers whose brilliant essays are featured in Sleep is for the Weak from Amalah to Jenny Lauck, are popular because they are, quite frankly, exceptionally talented writers who have the innate ability to string words together into powerful posts that deeply resonate with their legion of loyal readers. It's not an easy feat, to be sure. In fact, it rings difficult to be a capable writer of any sort, especially one with a baby in one arm and a screaming toddler in the other.
Despite the solid, well-written essays in Sleep is for the Weak, I couldn't help but notice how starkly one-dimensional the anthology is. Most of the essays collide into one big blur as if one mom blogger could have easily written them all. As a mom who has been blogging for five years I know that collectively mom bloggers are a diverse lot, with various backgrounds and a host of perspectives on motherhood and blogging. I just wish more colorful voices -- not necessarily based on race, but rather station in life -- were thrown into the contributors' mix to show our grandddaughters that in 2008 mommyblogging was a tightly-knit tapestry of varied maternal voices, not a cursory glance at one powerful niche within the community.
Buy Sleep Is for the Weak: The Best of the Mommybloggers Including Amalah, Finslippy, Fussy, Woulda Coulda Shoulda, Mom-101, and More! (Blogher Book)
-Jennifer James, Editor