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

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  50 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
When the Lusitania was attacked in 1915, the American composer and New Yorker Charles Ives transformed the experience of this heartbreaking news into a musical piece. It begins with a jumble of traffic noises, then the hurdy-gurdy swells into the lovely old hymn “In the Sweet Bye-and-Bye.” In lyrical text and watercolors—sometimes in dramatic wordless spreads—this thoughtf ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 9th 2012 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Katie Fitzgerald
Charles Ives (1874-1954) was an American modernist composer.

Despite the title's suggestion that this book is about Charles Ives's music, most of it is actually devoted to the sinking of the Lusitania, an event which inspired Ives to write a particular piece. The text is written in the present tense, with very minimal biographical information, and it does nothing at all to suggest to the reader how Ives's music might sound. Five wordless spreads are devoted to dramatic moments during
Michael Fitzgerald
An odd book - the title implies it is a biography of the composer (do we really need to be told that he is famous?) and that we will learn about his music (in general) and what makes it special. However, it is more about one particular event - the sinking of the Lusitania and how that influenced one Ives piece. TEN full pages (five spreads) are devoted to completely wordless images relating to the ship. Another full page is devoted to works of three composers (Carter, Copland, Adams) who were in ...more
Charles Ives, no relation to Burl Ives, heard music in everyday sounds including traffic. Due to the influences he cultivated around him, his music was way ahead of it's time. Ives always retained a day job (that had something to do with numbers). It wasn't until after his death that his music finally found a place.

Not great for a early biography. It left me with more questions than answers. There is no mention of whether he was related to Burl Ives, which is a common question. There is no expla
Nashiea Edmiston
A brief biography of Charles Ives, a business man and famous American composer. The book tries to chronicle the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915 but I have to say that I was a bit underwhelmed with the background on why the attack occurred. The middle sections of the book are wordless and probably my favorite as I felt the emotion portrayed on the faces of all the people on the ship, I feel the illustrator did an excellent job. I would recommend this book for older elementary, perhaps grades 4-5 ...more
Nitza Campos
Nov 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
(Grades 1-4) True story of Charles Ives who composed music that was not appreciated until after his death. This book focuses on the music that was inspired by the sinking of the Lusitania. The thing I loved most about this book is how poetic it is. Brief biography included along with additional sources.
Mar 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2012-13
3.5 stars
A great American composer whose music was never really performed (or appreciated) until after his death. Even now, I had never heard of this "famous" composer. Author's note and sources included.
I was very underwhelmed by this story and I think the children will be too. I doubt many kids will know the song he's famous for and the story does not do much to heighten any interest in him.
Jill Cd
Jan 21, 2014 rated it liked it
The book was not what I thought, I was hoping for more information about Mr. Ives. A very basic introduction to this composer.
Nov 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Great story about how American composer Charles Ives was inspired to write his music.
Jul 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
This reminded me of the Wynton Marsalis picture book Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp! because of the music in everyday sounds.
Mar 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: pb
simple line drawings, historical note in back
Miss Sarah
Feb 01, 2017 rated it liked it
A beautiful picture book describing the composing style of Charles Ives and the inspiration for one of his greatest pieces. Preschool and up for length and complexity.
Gail Shipley
Mar 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
There was not enough content in this book. When I finished reading it I still did not know the author's purpose. Very disappointing.
Edward Sullivan
Sep 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Great story about an influential composer who found inspiration for his music in the unlikeliest of palces.
Blaine Moore
Dec 22, 2013 rated it liked it
A fun little story about an American composer - the middle of the book is "silent" with no words but lots of fun pictures for my daughter to point at glance through.
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