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Strange Mr. Satie [Hardcover]

M.T. Anderson , Petra Mathers
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Sept. 16 2003 Bccb Blue Ribbon Nonfiction Book Award (Awards)
In Paris, at the turn of the twentieth century, when artists were experimenting with new ways of seeing things, Erik Satie had something new to say about music. Most people didn't understand his pieces; critics called his music surreal. But Erik Satie didn't care. He wanted to make music that followed no rules but its own. Satie's life was strange and wonderful, frenetic and lonely all at the same time. He was friends with Picasso, and with wizards and puppeteers; he scraped himself with a stone instead of bathing, and he once threw his acrobat girlfriend out a window. Now award-winning author M. T. Anderson tells the story of the irreverent French composer in a biography that is witty, accessible, and endlessly surprising, while Petra Mathers' fanciful illustrations capture all the vibrancy that was Erik Satie's topsy-turvy world.

Illustrations by Petra Mathers.


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Product Description

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-6-A splendid alliance of topic, text, and illustration produces a hauntingly compelling biography. Erik Satie was not suited to his times; he battled a "terrible temper" and wrote music that was so unusual that it eluded popularity. After years of struggle, at age 39, he returned to school to learn the rules of music "so he could break them." In 1924, he collaborated with painter Francis Picabia on a ballet entitled Cancelled that included a movie, a cannon, and a camel. Shortly after its success, Satie died. Written with respect and compassion, this offering is an ideal introduction to a unique individual who had a significant influence on music. Mathers's illustrations are superb in their crisp, colorful clarity. The period, place, and bohemian brilliance of Satie's life are every bit as fascinating visually as textually. Though not for every reader, this picture-book biography should be embraced by anyone who cherishes the uncommon.
Jody McCoy, The Bush School, Seattle, WA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 1-3. Anderson, who gave us the delightful Handel, Who Knew What He Liked (2001), and Mathers, who illustrated the quirky Little Love Song (1992), team up for a deliciously offbeat look at the French composer Erik Satie, a very odd man who made very odd music: "like an old chant and wild tunes. . . mixed together." Satie threw the artist he loved out the window (but Suzanne Valadon was also an acrobat and survived), and he had some mighty peculiar personal habits (he didn't take baths, scraping himself with stones, instead). Mathers strikingly reflects the composer's life and times by using surrealistic elements in her pictures: Satie's piano's pedals look like a leg and foot; the hats people wear at the famous cafe Le Chat Noir might be plates or clocks or bumblebees. Anderson's text has a fine rhythm, and it doesn't shirk at the strangeness, making this suitable for older children, as well. An excellent author's note fills in the biography. GraceAnne DeCandido
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Erik Satie was born by the sea in the village of Honfleur on the coast of France. Read the first page
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This is an excellent book March 18 2004
Format:Hardcover
This is an excellent book. My son wondered why Mr. Satie was referred to as "strange," and his question was soon answered. M.T. Anderson gives some amusing anecdotes about this composer who was relatively unknown and quite poor during his lifetime. One example is that Mr. Satie did not take baths, but rather rubbed himself with a stone to get clean. How clean we wondered? The book creates an interest to hear Satie's music and is educational.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is an excellent book March 18 2004
By ballymon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is an excellent book. My son wondered why Mr. Satie was referred to as "strange," and his question was soon answered. M.T. Anderson gives some amusing anecdotes about this composer who was relatively unknown and quite poor during his lifetime. One example is that Mr. Satie did not take baths, but rather rubbed himself with a stone to get clean. How clean we wondered? The book creates an interest to hear Satie's music and is educational.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Composer Children Can Love Jan. 29 2006
By S. Mosher - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I read this beautiful book to my daughter (not quite 4 years old) for the first time while listening to Satie's music, and she was entranced. She frequently requests repeated readings, and makes me stop periodically to just listen to the music. The pictures and words are a perfect compliment to this odd man and his enchanting music, without sugar-coating the difficulties that so often accompany genius. I will seek out more books by this writer and artist.
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