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From School Library Journal: Gr 2–5‑This autobiographical picture book depicts the youth of the composer/conductor. A child prodigy, Hamlisch entered Julliard at the age of seven. He tells of his love of music, his annoyance with practicing, and his nervousness at performing for others (including the Julliard judges). Humorous details include Marvin wearing his soft pajamas under his scratchy suit and getting locked on the roof before his audition.The digital paintings are lush, with a look of Disney-esque animation to them, although Marvin’s father has the same expression in every scene. There is far too little detail for report-writing, but Hamlisch’s personal story may inspire young music lovers to research further.-Heidi Estrin, Congregation B’nai Israel, Boca Raton, FLα© Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist: This snapshot from the early life of the recently deceased composer Marvin Hamlisch tells about his prodigious love of the piano. It also covers his boredom with “composers with funny names, like Wolfgang and Ludwig,” and his practice-avoidance techniques. When the day of Marvin’s music school audition arrives, a slight mishap makes him late and his nervousness makes him apprehensive, but passionate playing and childlike energy save the day. Unfortunately, the book lacks any context or back matter, which would have made it useful as a biography, and the impressive accomplishment of entering Juilliard at the age of six is only mentioned on the flap copy. The third-person text lacks the benefit of the maestro’s own voice, but as a stand-alone story, it may just inspire budding musicians who love to play yet hate to practice. Madsen’s romanticized, grainy illustrations of browns and blues adeptly show the shift between the boy’s reality and fantasies, and the finished copy will include a bonus CD of original Hamlisch music (unavailable for review). Grades K‑2. –Andrew Medlar