Donovan Bixley discovered Mozart’s letters 20 years ago and was inspired to produce ‘Faithfully Mozart’ in 2005. After the success of his award winning illustrated biography ‘Much Ado about Shakespeare’, Donovan decided to rework his book about Mozart in a similar style.
From the beginning of the child prodigy’s life to his premature death at 35, Donovan’s distinctive illustrations show the fun, boredom and horror of Mozart’s life so expressively that they tell the story in equal part with the text. The bright caricatures are interspersed with pencil drawings which perfectly balance the humour and the seriousness of the story. During a particularly hard period of his life Mozart was stuck in Paris at the mercy of the aristocrats and Donovan has illustrated this with a scattering of pencil sketches showing their dower expressions and encapsulating Mozart’s frustration.
The text has been given plenty of space and large quotes are used to intrigue and entice the reader. I was fascinated by the story in this book. It holds many surprises and we learn that as well as a musical genius, Mozart was an observer of life and that this, along with his sense of humour, was a large factor in the success of his operas. The appeal to children and young adults will certainly be enhanced by his outrageous words and behaviour. I would recommend this book for seniors and young adults but I am not sure how those scantily dressed women will sit on the shelves of a primary school library.
A Spotify link to the soundtrack for the music listed in the book is included at the start.
Title: Mozart:The Man Behind the Music
Author & Illustrator: Donovan Bixley
Publisher: Upstart Press
Date of Publication: October 2018
Reviewer’s name: Kirsten Puddick, Librarian, Holy Cross School, Wellington
How highly are you recommending this book? Highly recommended
You can buy this book here