Cover image for Handel, who knew what he liked
Handel, who knew what he liked
Anderson, M. T.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Cambridge, MA : Candlewick Press, 2001.
Physical Description:
38 unnumbered pages ; 31 cm
A man who would later compose some of the world's most beautiful music is shown as a stubborn little boy with a mind of his own.
Reading Level:
550 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.8 0.5 56737.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 3.8 3 Quiz: 28351 Guided reading level: N.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Clarence Library ML410.H13 A75 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Clearfield Library ML410.H13 A75 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
East Aurora Library ML410.H13 A75 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
Eggertsville-Snyder Library ML410.H13 A75 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
Grand Island Library ML410.H13 A75 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
Hamburg Library ML410.H13 A75 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Biography
Orchard Park Library ML410.H13 A75 2001 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



A droll biography reveals the high notes--and the low notes--in the life of the world's foremost composer of Baroque music.

This is not your usual picture book biography. Nor was George Frideric Handel your everyday eighteenth-century composer. This witty and yet rigorously researched and accessible biography captures Handel's essential spirit--from a child who smuggled a clavichord into the attic to play music against his father's orders to a young man who imported forty-five pounds of mountain snow to chill wine for a gala--as well as his remarkable, enduring musical triumphs. But M. T. Anderson also shows Handel's struggles and chronicles the illness, ill fortune, and despair that led to his greatest achievement, the Messiah. With impeccable detail and a wink at the reader, Kevin Hawkes illustrates the singular story of Handel and the music through which he lives on.
Back matter includes a time line, discography, author's note, sources, and an index.

Author Notes

M. T. Anderson was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts on November 4, 1968. He was educated in English literature at Harvard University and Cambridge University, and received his MFA in Creative Writing from Syracuse University. He primarily writes picture books for children and novels for young adults. His picture books include Handel, Who Knew What He Liked; Strange Mr. Satie; The Serpent Came to Gloucester; and Me, All Alone, at the End of the World. His young adult books include Thirsty, Burger Wuss, and Feed, which won the L.A. Times Book Award for YA fiction in 2003. He also writes the series A Pals in Peril Tale, and The Norumbegan Quartet.

Anderson Won the 2006 National Book Award in Young People's Literature for The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party.

His title Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad, was a finalist for the 2016 YALSA-ALA Award for Excellence in Young Adult Nonfiction.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 3-6. Not so long ago, children's biographies of classical composers were as lively as marble busts and about as likely to be taken down from the shelf. Anderson and Hawkes' large-format, biographical picture book introduces George Frideric Handel and infuses the composer's story with warmth and color, humor and humanity. As a child, Handel is shown smuggling a clavichord into the attic. As a young man, he traveled through Italy, listening to concerts, church services, and opera; studying music; and composing his own. In England, he met success as a composer for royal entertainments, disappointment and ridicule as a producer of Italian opera, and immortality as the composer of the Messiah. Relating pithy stories with plain words and short sentences, Anderson never forgets his audience in his enthusiasm for his subject. Illustrating the scenes, Hawkes' lively acrylic paintings are beautifully composed, dramatically lit, and irresistibly appealing. Appended are a chronology, a discography, and suggestions of adult biographies for further reading. --Carolyn Phelan

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this wittily irreverent picture-book biography, the legendary baroque composer is vividly brought to life. "You'd have to be sure of yourself to wear a wig that gigantic," the author points out archly on the first page, commenting on an accompanying portrait of George Frideric himself. Meanwhile, perched above the ornately decorated text box, a fly (as in "fly on the wall") looks on. This sort of sassy visual and verbal repartee sets the tone for a fresh and funny take on history, and Anderson (Burger Wuss) does a bang-up job of condensing and explaining the major (and more colorful minor) events of the composer's larger-than-life career. For his part, Hawkes has a field day slipping in sly visual asides, including an ancestral portrait that looks down in surprise at the young Handel smuggling a clavichord past his disapproving parents, and a pair of feuding divas in a catfight. Like all grand opera, there's pathos as well, most particularly in the events surrounding the writing of the "Messiah," and Hawkes's lush and sweeping acrylic paintings pick up on the more poignant as well as the puckish elements. The author comically debunks popular myths as well, such as the tradition of a standing ovation during the "Hallelujah Chorus" originating with the king: "This story is almost certainly not true, but it is a good story nonetheless." Unobtrusive sidebars explain a variety of musical terminology, and a discography and timeline of Handel's life are also included. These gifted collaborators deserve a Hallelujah Chorus of their own for this volume, as well as a request for a speedy encore. Ages 8-12. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-5-In this picture-book biography, both illustration and text are characterized by a saucy style, impeccable pacing, and a richness of content, and the two harmonize splendidly in a manner befitting the subject. Anderson's words and anecdotes are well chosen, and his sense of timing heightens impact whether describing mischievous childhood antics of the classical composer (the boy smuggling a clavichord past unsuspecting parents) or solemn occasions (the circumstances surrounding the creation and performances of the Messiah). The author is also adept at conveying the spirit and flavor of Handel's music. Hawkes's highly textured acrylics manage to combine depth and drama with a great sense of fun. Double-page spreads display a shimmering River Thames during a performance of Water Music as well as ornate opera halls and drawing rooms. Close inspection of the scenes and the elaborately carved frames surrounding the text reveal comedic cameos. The attention to detail extends to a whimsical, scrolled Latin copyright message and graceful gold arabesques on the endpapers. Clear definitions of technical terms are embedded in decorative panels throughout. This performance is worthy of a standing ovation.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Google Preview