Saturday, July 24, 2010

The 39 Apartments of Ludwig van Beethoven

The 39 Apartments of Ludwig Van Beethoven
by Jonah Winter, pictures by Barry Blitt, Schwartz & Wade Books, 2006

Jonah Winter starts with the facts: Beethoven was born in Germany in 1770, he became a great composer, he owned five legless pianos, and he lived in 39 different apartments. Then he tells us, “But now things get fuzzier,” and continues with a playful blending of fact and conjecture about why Beethoven moved so often and how he moved those legless pianos around. As Winter explains in the author’s note at the end of the book, Beethoven’s eccentricities may have had something to do with his many moves, but there’s a lot we don’t know. I think this book would work best in conjunction with other books about Beethoven, but that said I really enjoyed the fun this author had asking “What if?”

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