Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 122


Picture Book: The Extraordinary Music of Mr. Ives: The True Story of a Famous American Composer

Author & Illustrator: Joanne Stanbridge

Summary: This picture book is brimming with history, music, and emotion. At the heart of the story is New Yorker, Charles Ives’ inspiration for one of his most famous musical compositions which was written after the devastating sinking of the Lusitania during WWI in 1915. The ship left New York harbor and never returned. The broader story is Mr. Ives’ passion for hearing music in everyday sounds and the elevated status he gave American folk music and hymns. The hymn “In the Sweet Bye-and-Bye” echoes throughout the composition that is central to this picture book. In his lifetime, Mr. Ives never received the recognition he was due, but he is now revered as one of the greatest American composers.  

Hanna’s Comments: The heart of this book is a man whose God-given passion and talented musical ear perceives the beauty and heartbreak in sounds most of us would never attend to. The author implies that Mr. Ives knew his artistic perspective was ahead of its time, but this passion for his art didn’t waiver. This book is an excellent depiction of a city in mourning and a man determined to capture that mourning just as psalmists captured such feelings in their writings of Israel’s devastating losses and confusion.   

Publisher & Date of Publication: Houghton Mifflin, 2012

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 5 and up, K and up

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: None at present

PBT Category: Non-fiction, Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: brokenness, call/calling/vocation, choir/music/singing/songs, community, creativity/imagination/ingenuity, death/loss/grief, depression/despair/sadness/sorrow, dreams/aspirations, emotions/feeling, gifts/giftedness/talents, intercession, lamentations, legacies, listening, mentors/teachers, mission, passion, perseverance, prayer, tragedy, transformation, unity, worship

Scripture Connections: Psalms of lament such as Psalms 44, 60, 74, 79, 80, 85, & 90

Idea(s) for Application: This would be a wonderful book to use in a homeschool/private school or church art camp when studying artistic expressions of painful emotions and events. Ground your instruction in the hope that is available through your Holy Scriptures, particularly dark poetry and stories.