I’m shining the spotlight this morning on a nonfiction picture book chock full o’ charm. It’s called The Beatles Were Fab (and They Were Funny), written by husband-and-wife writing team Kathleen Krull (who, evidently, was once such a ginormous Beatles fan that she owned pieces of the sheets the lads slept on) and Paul Brewer, to released next month by Harcourt. It’s illustrated by Stacy Innerst (featured previously at 7-Imp in 2011), who wanted to grow up to be Ringo Starr, and I’ve got some more of his illustrations below.
So, let’s get to it. But not till you wave first at George up there.
This book opens with a Kurt Vonnegut quote, even before we get to the title page, which pretty much lays out the book’s goal of showing readers how fun, full of life, and … well, wonderfully goofy the Fab Four were:
A plausible mission of artists is to make people appreciate being alive at least a little bit. [When] asked if I know of any artists who pulled that off, I reply, “The Beatles did.”
The book’s first spread treats us to this below. (Click to enlarge it and see George.)
Right away, we see that Krull and Brewer aren’t going to give us a dry biography of the band and account of their rise to fame. As the parenthetical portion of the book’s title indicates, they’re giving readers a glimpse of the band’s collective joy. As they tell the story of the band’s path to great success and popularity, laying out all the necessary facts, they sprinkle the narrative with many of John’s, Paul’s, Ringo’s, or George’s jokes and their compelling joie de vivre. (“They used silliness to help keep their spirits up. John would shout, ‘Where are we going, lads?’ ‘To the top, Johnny!’ ‘And where is that?’ ‘The toppermost of the poppermost!’ the others would yell. …”) They also share little-known fun facts to humanize the iconic band members:
Beatlemania was so intense that the screaming of the fans often drowned out the songs. The lads found it hilarious that the less their music could be heard, the more popular they became and the more money they were paid.
Krull and Brewer do an impressive job of capturing personalities here, and Innerst’s caricatures of the Fab Four, rendered in acrylic and ink, are full of reverence, mischief, and affection, all at once.
(Click either image to see spread in its entirety and see the text)
Krull and Brewer bring readers all the way to the end of Beatlemania and close out the book with “Important Dates in Beatles History,” as well as a list of the sources they consulted when writing.
It’s an entertaining tribute, from start to finish.
waving a telegram from New York in their sleepy faces. Their newest song, ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand,’ had hit number on in America. The lads stayed awake for hours, stunned that Beatlemania had crossed the Atlantic Ocean. But John still had to joke.
He liked to call the song ‘I Want to Hold Your Nose.’”
(Click image to enlarge and see spread in its entirety)
THE BEATLES WERE FAB (AND THEY WERE FUNNY). Copyright © 2013 by Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer. Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Stacy Innerst. Published by Harcourt Children’s Books, Boston. Spreads used with permission of the publisher.
Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.
My kicks ONE to SEVEN this week are that I conquered the stomach flu and am feeling better and back to work. I know that this dastardly flu is going around, and I hope each of you imps have managed to avoid it.
My bonus kick is that this movie arrived in my mailbox—evidently, I added it to the ‘ol Netflix queueueueueueueue without a memory of doing so—and I very much enjoyed it. I have been thinking and thinking about this movie.
What are YOUR kicks this week?