LadyD Book Review: The Composer Is Dead

Cover of "The Composer Is Dead l Book & CDCover of The Composer Is Dead (Book & CD)If you have ever heard an orchestra play, then you know that musicians are most certainly guilty of something. Where exactly were the violins on the night in question? Did anyone see the harp? Is the trumpet protesting a bit too boisterously?

In this perplexing murder mystery, every instrument is being interrogated!

Lemony Snicket and Nathaniel Stookey collaborate on a classical music album and book for kids.  On the CD, the music is furnished both with and without narration.

From the Publisher:

The Composer Is Dead is a collaborative effort by the San Francisco Symphony, Stookey, and Mr. Snicket, also allegedly known as Daniel Handler. The goal of The Composer Is Dead commission, book, and CD is to build upon the wild popularity of Mr. Snicket’s inventive humor and Stookey’s new score to introduce the orchestra to young listeners in an original and entertaining way. The Composer Is Dead engages listeners with a gripping plot—in this case, a whodunit murder mystery—while the music and Snicket’s narration work together to provide an entertaining introduction to the instruments of the orchestra, in the vein of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and Britten’s The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.

The Story:

The investigator,  who is the narrator,  well he is trying to solve a murder mystery. He is trying to figure out WHO killed the composer.
"I will begin by interviewing all the usual suspects," the Inspector said. "Like all people in his line of work, this Composer had many enemies lurking in the orchestra. They can lurk all they like, but I will find them wherever they are lurking.
I will find them if they are lurking in the strings.
I will find them if they are lurking in the brass.
I will find them if they are lurking in the woodwinds.
I will find them if they are lurking in the percussion section.
I will find them wherever--wherever they are lurking,
I will find them!"
Do you have a favorite orchestra instrument? Difficult question, I know. I love French Horns and Cellos!
"Well, I guess that takes care of the strings," the Inspector said, "Oh--the Violas! I forgot all about you."
"Everyone forgets about us," said the Violas bitterly.
"We play the notes in the chords that nobody cares about. We play crucial countermelodies nobody hears. We often have to stay late after performances and stack up all the chairs. We spent last night feeling sorry for ourselves as usual."

 How did the title The Composer is Dead come about?

"Well, I first thought the idea would be to do a murder mystery, so each section of the orchestra could be questioned. As I thought about it more, it seemed perfect, because composers can't wait to be dead because only then will anyone listen to them, probably. It seemed good to take all the treachery and backstabbing that happens within an orchestra, between an orchestra and conductor and an orchestra and composer, that you could take the title literally."
 "And then it also occurred to me that a) so many people were tired of taking their children to hear Peter and the Wolf over and over again; and that b) in some ways, Peter and the Wolf doesn't really teach you about the orchestra," Handler says. "As someone who had grown up on classical music and was in love with the orchestra, I saw there was an opportunity here to make a piece which might speak more directly about the instruments and how they work together."

Take a look at this amazon video, if interested. The Composer Is Dead

This is an excellent book using wordplay, humor, and mild suspense. I can't think of anything finer, well maybe seeing a baby being born, but it is a fantastic experience to introduce children to the world of the symphony. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who has been in a band or orchestra or likes classical music or Lemony Snicket. 5 stars! Loved the book!

As always, I thank you for stopping by and I enjoy hearing of your likes and dislikes regarding children's books!

-- LadyD

“You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me.” — C. S. Lewis

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