My Love of music goes back a long way. When I was studying voice with the wonderful woman I spotlighted in D is for… Dorothy, she had me learn a song called “Songs My Mother Taught Me.” (That song is guaranteed to turn the hardest heart to mush.) Indeed, the songs my mother taught me have added greatly to my life, and she instilled a great love of music in me from the time I was tiny and listening to her lullabies (two other “L” words, if you will notice.)

In the picture book I am reviewing today for Perfect Picture Book Friday, the main character does much for the love of music.


Title: For the Love of Music: the remarkable story of Maria Anna Mozart

Author: Elizabeth Rusch

Illustrator: Steve Johnson & Lou Fancher

Publisher: New York: Tricycle Press/Random House, 2011

Genre: Picture book, historical/biographical fiction

Audience Age: 5 and up

Theme: music, biography of Mozart’s sister, love between brother and sister, love of music, history of music

Opening Sentences: When Maria Anna Mozart was a child, her life thrummed with music. Court musicians trumpeted French horns, choruses tra-la-la’ed, and countless fingers skittered up and down scales. “Oh father,” Maria pleaded, “please teach me to play!” And so he did.

Synopsis: Through illustrations that combine painting, fabric and lines of music, and text that appears to be on heavy cream-colored paper on the facing page, the life story of Mozart’s older sister, Maria Anna, is told. Each page of text is headed by a musical term that fits with the portion of the story that is being told. Maria Anna played the piano beautifully, she was said to be the most promising pianist in Europe – then one day her little brother, Wolfgang reached up and touched the keys. The children were soon playing duets, and were toured about as prodigies. They loved to play together. As they got older, Maria Anna had to stay home, while her brother became more and more famous. For love of music, she kept the music within her alive throughout her life.

Activities/Resources: The author provides a Curriculum Guide, and music/art projects on her website:

Availability: Readily available in hardcover.

Every Friday, bloggers join together to share picture book reviews and resources, thanks to author Susanna Leonard Hill’s brainchild, “Perfect Picture Book Fridays.” Susanna then adds the books (and links to the reviews) to a comprehensive listing by subject on her blog. Find the entire listing at her “Perfect Picture Books.”


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