L is for… the Love of Music — Perfect Picture Book Friday

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.”


A to Z Challenge


36 thoughts on “L is for… the Love of Music — Perfect Picture Book Friday”

  1. Great review of this book Beth. I’m interested to see the musical terms included on each page. This post is another touching tribute to your mother.

  2. I heard so much regarding the brother that unfortunately, his sister went unnoticed. What a shame, one that I will have to rectify. Thank you for recommending this PB as this will make a good start.

  3. I know almost nothing about Mozart’s sister, how needed is this book? What a superb find, Beth, and the text sounds very musical itself!

    1. This book is excellent, Joanna. Some years ago I read an adult book about Mozart’s sister — it used her more common name, or rather nickname, Nannerl. I wish I could remember the title of the book, so that I could recommend it to you.

  4. A beautiful review — I loved your comment about when little Wolfgang reached up and touched the keys. I didn’t know about Maria. How sad that the times prevented her from playing. Thank you for sharing this important piece of musical history.

    1. Thanks, Pat. Can’t you just see the little boy reaching to touch the piano keys? I wonder if you might have heard of her by her nickname, Nannerl. That’s how she’s more often referred to, but the author of this book explains that she preferred to use her given name, and not the family’s pet name for her.

      I’m glad you appreciated this book choice, Pat.

    1. You would absolutely love the illustrations throughout this book, Heather. I recommend you find it, as it’s quite intriguing to see how the various pages are done.

  5. Looks like an awesome book!

    Hope you’re enjoying the challenge so far!
    –Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2012

    Twitter: @AprilA2Z

  6. Oh Beth, what an awesome choice for this week. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard and read a glowing review of this book. I believe this was featured for Nonfiction Monday several months back and I was captivated! I shall look for this one in our libraries. 🙂

  7. Sounds like a wonderful story…
    I didn’t know about Maria Anna’sexistence – though she would have been overshadowed by the genius Mozart, anyway…

  8. I can always count on you to add to my arts reading list. Thanks, Beth. I had heard of this one before, but forgotten about it. Now it’s on my library hold list.

  9. Wow, how amazing is that? I never knew Mozart had a musically gifted sister! As so often happens, women get written out of the history books. Luckily, they can also get written back in!

    1. It’s not surprising, but it’s a shame, that her brother so overshadowed her.

      I wish I could remember the name of the book I read about her years ago. In it she was called “Nannerl” which was the pet name the family used for her in her childhood.

      I like your thought — yes, luckily women can get written back in to the history books!

    1. Thank you so much, Penny. And thanks for the idea about sharing the finds with teachers. I wonder how I’d go about that?

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