Amy Cheney Beach was inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame and Museum in 1999. Have any of you ever heard of her? I took piano lessons for years as a child and none of my teachers ever mentioned her. But this wonderful picture book will introduce her to children and they will be amazed at her accomplishments.
The narrative begins with Amy toddling around her family's farmhouse and singing pitch-perfect tunes - as one-year-old! It follows her musical development and her debut on the concert stage, despite her mother's objections to a career as a pianist. Several quotes from Amy herself are included, so that readers get a sense of her personality. Youngsters may be surprised that her mother did not want her to be a musical prodigy.
Illustrations were created by Alison Jay, whom you probably remember from her work on A Lady Has the Floor and other titles. The crackle finish on the paintings have an antique feel. The musical notes floating around Amy as she creates her own songs or pouring from the piano as she plays give the sense of the melodies filling the air around her. One page shows the figures of famous classical composers standing on the sheets of music as if her playing has brought them to life.
Together the text and illustrations capture the time period and Amy's absorption with music. Back matter includes a 2-page author's note, several photos of Amy, a 2-page timeline, a musical glossary, and a selected bibliography. There is also a list of suggested websites and places to visit. Publication is scheduled for March 21, 2023. I read a review copy provided by the publisher.