The Beatles by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom

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The Beatles by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Margaret Young
Reviewed by Margaret Young
Summary: It is difficult to guess who will enjoy this book more, adults or children. This book would be a wonderful addition to any Beatles fan's collection, regardless of age, but it has plenty to offer children as well, and it isn't just for Beatles fans.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 48 Date: January 2014
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1847804518

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The Beatles begins with the childhood of John Lennon at the end of the second world war. The first illustration seems to convey and infant John twisting and shouting on his way to the air raid shelter. The text and illustrations both paint a picture of mischievous but intelligent child. We especially loved an illustration that shows the mixed emotions of the passengers and driver as John plays an old harmonica for hours on the bus. Some of the passengers look desperate to escape, but the driver is so impressed he gives John a better harmonica.

Shorter biographies of Paul and George follow, starting with the future Beatles in their teens. I was a slightly disappointed that there was no information on Ringo growing up, but of course he did join the band later. The rest of the book covers the formation of the band and their rise to fame, but in addition to telling the story of the band, this also gives the reader a glimpse of the changing times. Brita Granström deserves equal credit with Manning in this as her beautiful illustrations so perfectly bring to life a different era. Small details like the old electric fire and radio, the arrival of the milkman and a simple of meal of beans and egg on toast have captured a slice of every day life as well as the life of four young superstars. The Beatles were a bit before my time, but there were still some illustrations that filled me with a warm wave of nostalgia for my own childhood.

The main story is followed by a brief summary of the careers of The Beatles after they split up. This does mention the assassination of John Lennon, but with very scant detail, and I felt this was completely appropriate for a very young audience. There is no mention at all of drugs, and again I feel this is best as this book is classed as children's book. I had no problem reading this to my five year old child, but I do feel the eight year old was able to take more from the book. I find it impossible to put an age recommendation on this. It is a bit heavy on text for a very young child, and I wouldn't expect a child under five to really appreciate this. But I absolutely can not place an upper age limit on this. If my Mother were still alive she would enjoy this, and I believe my grandmother would as well. There are a growing number of adults who collect children's books (I do myself but I have my sons as an excuse), this book would certainly be worth considering for any adult who collects picture books, Beatles memorabilia, or just books with capture the nostalgia and the spirit of days gone by. In fact I do know one other adult who has purchased this, not for his children but for himself and he loves it as much as I do.

I've always liked The Beatles, and my children enjoy some of their music as well, but I didn't choose this book because it was about The Beatles. I've never really been one to read about the musicians I like, the music is enough for me. I chose it because I have several other books by Mick Manning and Brita Granström. The subjects may be quite varied, but the quality is always the same. No matter what the subject, Manning can make it interesting, and Granstrom's illustrations provide the perfect accompaniment to the text. Every book I have bought from this pair has been a five star read - so I expected nothing less from this book. Even so I was impressed. This is a good book for the history of The Beatles, but it is much more than that I would enjoy this book even if I had no interest whatsoever in the band.

The book has perfectly captured a period in the history of Britain, and the world. I have ended up keeping this in our history section, and find it wonderful to have a book that really does qualify as history, but has only the briefest mention of war. It isn't that I have a problem with my children learning about war, but it is nice to be able show there is more to human history than one conflict after another. I especially liked the timeline at the back of the book showing key events in world history. The Beatles is a piece of musical memorabilia and history, a general history book, and at the simplest level, just a good story. If you are a Beatles fan, this would be a wonderful way to introduce your children to the band. But even if you are not a fan , this book is well worth considering.

If this book appeals then you might also like to try:

Octopus's Garden by Ringo Starr and Ben Cort

Forever Young by Bob Dylan

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Buy The Beatles by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Beatles by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom at


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