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Summer Reading - books for all ages.
Featured Resource

Handel at the Court of Kings


Handel at the Court of Kings

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Publisher: Zeezok Publishing

Author: Opal Wheeler

Illustrator: Mary Greenwalt

List Price: Paperback $12.95

Ages: All Ages

Reviewed By: Jean Hall

Handel at the Court of Kings is another in a series of delightful biographies of the great classical composers, published many years ago and now being brought back into print by Zeezok Publishing.

Written to appeal to elementary-aged children, the sprightly text follows the adventures of George Friedrich Handel from the age of six until very late in his life. The author wants us to share Handel's love of music, his enthusiasm, his dedication, the shaping of his talent into a gift to the ages: music that continues to move listeners centuries after his death.

Small, familiar anecdotes are woven into the larger account, though in our reading we learned a great deal that we hadn't known before. We learned that Handel's father wanted him to be a lawyer, and definitely not a musician. We learned how his aunt encouraged his talent, how Handel practiced diligently while remaining obedient to his father's wishes. We learned how his industry paid off, bringing his musical accomplishments to the notice of nobles, princes and kings.

Hardships are gently glossed over, such as the passing mention of Handel's going without food to stretch out his dwindling finances, and the delicate handling of the impact of blindness in his later years. The author presents the facts in a way that young children can understand and yet not find frightening or depressing. (However, one of my young ones was inconsolable that Johann Sebastian Bach walked all the way from Leipzig to Halle to meet Handel, and arrived a few moments after the latter had departed in a coach.)

Musical selections are sprinkled through the 166-page book, simple enough for an intermediate piano student to play. However, if you have no one at home to play the tunes for you, there is a CD available from the publisher with all the music included in this book. There is also a companion study guide with timeline, maps, and background information. (Please see related reviews.) Charming black and white illustrations, looking like old-fashioned woodcuts, are a nice accompaniment to the flowing text.

Handel at the Court of Kings is a wonderful resource, whether you are engaged in composer studies as recommended in Charlotte Mason's method, your child is an aspiring musician or composer, or you are studying European history and culture in the first half of the 1700s. We enjoyed it so well that we have sought out the other titles in this series, and are slowly working our way through them.
More Information
Available From: Zeezok Publishing
Address: PO Box 1960, Elyria OH 44036
Phone: 800.749.1681
Other Notes:
Purchase Now From the Eclectic Homeschool Resource Center
Jean Hall
Jean Hall, a Christian home educator with three daughters, enjoys writing stories and music. Her family's interests include reading together, art, gardening, volkswalking and pets: two cats and a Giant Schnauzer.
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