Introducing The Beatles to kids
Posted by Roger Stormo
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
New book for young readers: Fab Four Friends - The Boys Who Became The Beatles
We die-hard fans may know who John, Paul, George and Ringo were, as will a generation of baby boomers, and also that generation I belong to, kids who grew up in the seventies. People born in the seventies, growing up in the eighties will also be familiar with the fabulous foursome, thanks to Paul McCartney's solo successes, George Harrison's stray hit with "Got My Mind Set On You" and The Traveling Wilburys. People who grew up in the nineties may have caught the fever with the "Anthology TV"-series. Forty-five years after the Beatles broke up, their popularity remains undiminished, with 41.8 million likes on Facebook, 2.8 million Twitter followers, a ranking as the "most important band" on Wikipedia* and the #1 spot on Rolling Stone's list of 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. But there are new generations who are no longer recognising those four names as a unity, the most popular pop/rock band ever.
A new book is going to try and remedy that, introduce the band to kids today. Fab Four Friends: The Boys Who Became the Beatles is a new picture book from Macmillan that introduces the next generation of fans to the story of John, Paul, George and Ringo. Focusing on the early years, written by author Susanna Reich and illustrated by Adam Gustavson, the book shows how four boys from Liverpool became the bestselling band in history.
Beatles biographer Bob Spitz calls the book "the perfect introduction to the mythic pop band — a thoughtful and delightful retelling that, like the Beatles, hits all the right notes."
The book traces the Beatles’ roots through each boy’s childhood and teen years. Evocative language and richly-detailed paintings tell the story of the band from its earliest days as a skiffle group to its explosion onto the world stage.
It’s all here, from John and Paul’s meeting at St. Peter’s Church to George’s audition on a double-decker bus and Ringo’s early love of the drums. Heady nights in Hamburg, sweaty gigs in the Cavern Club, the adoration of hometown fans, the crush of being told that "guitar groups are on the way out," the thrill of Beatlemania—this ultimate rock 'n' roll story will appeal to readers of all ages, the press release assures us.
To be released in hardcover on August 18, 2015 (13 September in the UK), the book looks for an audience whose age range is 6 - 10 years, and has 32 colourful pages.
Fab Four Friends: The Boys Who Became the Beatles
Hardcover – Import, 18 Aug 2015
by Susanna Reich (Author), Adam Gustavson (Illustrator)
In 1957 in Liverpool, England, a young lad named John Lennon and his band played music at a local church fair. In the audience was Paul McCartney, who liked what he heard and soon joined the group. Paul's friend George Harrison kept showing up at rehearsals until the older boys finally let him in. Eventually they found the perfect drummer, Ringo Starr, and the perfect name: The Beatles.
Told through a lyrical text and stunning paintings, this book spotlights four ordinary boys growing up amid the rubble of postwar England who found music to be a powerful, even life-saving, force.
Gustavson's naturalistic oil illustrations capture individual band-members' personalities and fans' excitement, complementing the well-orchestrated text. (The Horn Book)
[A] grand and archetypal tale . . . the closing cornucopia of Beatles books, audio, video, and websites will also help to fill in the blanks. First steps on the long and winding road. (Kirkus Reviews)
Reich concentrates on the qualities that brought them together, focusing especially on their humor, their work ethic, and their consummate musicianship. Gustavson's luminous oil paintings capture likenesses and personalities that are utterly recognizable, even when the bandmates are just little boys and teens. (Booklist)
A fine recipe for pleasure: Julia Child, the culinary arts, Paris and a lucky cat. Magnifique! (Kirkus Reviews, starred review on Minette's Feast)
[A] charming conceit. (Booklist, starred review on Minette's Feast)
...feast for the senses (School Library Journal, starred review on Minette's Feast)
About the Author
Susanna Reich is an author of many books for children and has won such awards as an Orbis Pictus Honor and an SLJ Best Book of the Year, among other honors. She lives in New York's Hudson Valley with her husband, author Gary Golio. susannareich.com
Adam Gustavson is the award-winning illustrator of over twenty books for children, including Rock and Roll Highway: The Robbie Robertson Story. Adam holds an MFA from the School of Visual Arts and teaches at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He lives in New Jersey with his family and several guitars. adamgustavson.com
Reading level: 6 - 10 years
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (18 August 2015)
Product Dimensions: 29.5 x 22.4 x 1 cm