Here's what people are saying about Mozart!
Maria Anna Walburga Ignatia Mozart, nicknamed Nannerl, is the older sister of Wolfgang Mozart, the famous 18th-century Austrian composer. She calls him “Wolfie.” In this work of creative nonfiction, Nannerl tells us her tale. Written in first person, her voice as imagined by the author, she tells us she was a talented composer and musician. Sadly, she was silenced by own father, who believed that young women were not supposed to play music. The narrative spans more than 30 years of her life. Nannerl has a happy, music-filled childhood and a somber, quiet adulthood. The story is told with lots of text per page; however, it is clearly written and well placed within the rich illustrations. Lirius’s artwork is airy and lyrical. Bright yellow and pink pastels accent Nannerl’s happy childhood days. When her father takes away her music, the entire family is clad in a suffocating blue. On the night Nannerl is separated from her brother, even the moon frowns. In the book’s final pages, Wolfie dies. Nannerl remembers him by playing music once again. Her symphony is rendered as a fantastic city skyline with beautiful steeples and minarets limned by moonlight. Nannerl and Wolfie laugh cheerfully in the margin of her memory. Back matter explains the concept of creative nonfiction and lets readers know which story elements are fact and which are embellishments. Also included is a glossary of musical terms and a time line for Nannerl’s life. VERDICT A must-buy for any collection. Not only is this a story that needs to be shared, but the back matter educates young readers on critical reading distinctions.
― Chance Lee Joyner
★ Starred Review from School Library Journal
Narrated by Maria Anna Mozart (1751–1829), known as “Nannerl,” this creative nonfiction narrative offers a glimpse into the older Mozart prodigy’s life, from early travels and performances with younger brother Wolfgang to their domineering father’s forcing her early retirement and subsequent marriage. Ades’s personal-sounding, contemporary prose focuses on Nannerl’s love for both music and her brother: “Wolfie and I practiced all day./ Two bodies. Four hands. One perfect purpose.” This empathically rendered portrayal of a lesser-known musical wunderkind, with fanciful gouache and digital art by Lirius that visualizes music’s flow, highlights the figure’s talent and passion while asking whether her legacy could have been more extensive. Back matter includes a note about creative nonfiction and artistic liberties, and more about patriarchy in 18th century Europe. Ages 4–8. (Feb.)
― Publishers Weekly