"Marvin Makes Music" by Marvin Hamlisch and illustrated by Jim Madsen is a beautifully written and illustrated picture book about Marvin as a child who loved music and hated to practice. Many children (and adults) will relate.
“Marvin Makes Music” was completed prior to Hamlisch’s death on Aug. 6, 2012, at the age of 68. The book relates the story about his acceptance into the Juilliard School of Music at the tender age of six. It was published posthumously.
The book is about a six-year-old child who loves music more than anything. Hamlisch writes (about his young self): "Wherever he went, he heard music. In the park, other people watched the birds. Marvin listened to their songs." Young Marvin heard music in car horns blaring -- he heard music everywhere.
One thing Marvin did not like to do, however, was practice the piano. He wanted to play his music, not the music written by composers hundreds of years ago. Not the piano exercises that made him fall asleep. But he played and practiced enough to get an audition at the "best music school" in the city.
The story shows a very human Marvin. He's very nervous and his new suit itches. Then, he and his father end up locked on the roof above where the audition is to take place. Marvin arrives late but plays for the judges.
The rest is history. Included with the book is a CD that features an original song by Hamlisch and Rupert Holmes, "The Music in My Mind." It was one of the last songs that Hamlisch recorded before his death.
There is great discussion that can come from this charming story. Children can discuss the value of practicing (even though it's not pleasant), how some people are different -- but in a good way (Marvin loved piano but not baseball), and how sometimes dreams do come true.
Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover picture book provided by the publisher, Dial, for review purposes.
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