Friday, April 10, 2009

The Composer Is Dead and Other New Picture Books

From the author of the amazingly popular and decidedly horrid and very unpleasant A Series of Unfortunate Events, a book series of 13 novels for children, comes a new picture book.

Daniel Handler, writing under the pseudonym Lemony Snicket, has created a picture book of intrigue and suspicion with The Composer is Dead. The book, illustrated by Carson Ellis with a CD insert by Nathaniel Stookey, is a murder mystery taking place in an orchestra. Somebody or something has killed the composer and it is up to the inspector to track down the culprit. The investigation introduces children to the various musical instruments. The vivid descriptions of the role each instrument plays touches the reader on many levels. The unexpected ending is delightful and realistic. The accompanying illustrations lend themselves perfectly to the flow of the story and help accentuate the quirky storyline.

As this book is a bit text heavy for a picture book, it is best read with older children who can fully engage in the colorful descriptions and the "whodunnit" theme. The publishing house Harper Collins is offering a sweepstakes for people to win a free copy of Snicket's new picture book. If you are interested to enter, please click here.

The Composer Is Dead was originally an orchestral creation by Stookey with narration by Snicket.

Other New Picture Books in the Children's Room Include:

10,000 Dresses - By Marcus Ewert
Give a Goat - By Jan West Schrock
Most Loved in All the World - By Tonya Cherie Hegamin
Ron's Big Mission - By Rose Blue and Corinne J. Naden
Tsunami! - By Kimiko Kajikawa
When Louis Armstrong Taught Me Scat - By Muriel Harris Weinstein

(Note: Illustration From this San Francisco Chronicle article.)

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