The Fabulous Feud of Gilbert & Sullivan

Every once and a while a picture book comes along with a historical slant fabulousor biographical content.   Such is the case with Jonah Winter’s The Fabulous Feud of Gilbert & Sullivan.  Most adults will probably recognize the two people that are the main characters in this story.  They are the main reason for the English opera reaching a level with the Italian form albeit not so serious and more down to earth.  More importantly they built the foundation for musicals on Broadway.  

But wait!  Isn’t this supposed to be a children’s book?  Why would a child be interested opera?  The story itself is silly and and is (mostly) fictional.  It is entertaining and comical.  But I can’t help but wonder if an older child would enjoy this story more so than a 4 year old.  The suggested audience level implying that children who are just learning to read are going to enjoy this story borders on the ridiculous.  This just proves my theory that adults who write children’s stories need to remember who their audience are.  Not everyone is a Mozart prodigy.

(Mark Taylor, Benjamin Branch Library)

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