By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Young Mozart is a delightful masterpiece of art and humour for young readers to enjoy. This book will certainly lift any spirit up, and there are fun activities, like a maze and crossword puzzle, included too! William Augel‘s creation inspired me to watch the movie, Amadeus, again because is brought forth that essence I recall in the film. His narrative approach includes the style from the Sunday funnies.
For those able to read sheet music, the scores found in this book are playable. I remember enough from my youth where I learned piano. But with no synthesizer nearby, I must visit a music store with a preview page and hope I do not embarrass myself. While I can’t say if they are straight from Mozart’s compositions or not, I’m inclined to assume they are.
Wolferl, as he’s known in his early life, is a rambunctious lad, writing music nearly everywhere he goes and questioning life. His relationship with his mother and father is lightly explored. Nothing ill is implied because those squabbles happened later in life. Augel’s work infers how his family and peers saw him and vice versa. The tyke is still discovering the world with his pet dog, Pimperl and a rogue cat. These two are analogous to Snoopy and Woodstock in the world of Peanuts and add to the humour of this cartoonist’s work.
Every strip featured is full of giggles. I am hooked and love this sub-genre of youthful historical expression. Some of the events are inspired by actual incidents of this composer’s life. By comparison, Young Lovecraft is just as funny and I find it sad not every take can continue on for years on end. Longevity is fleeting, but to be remembered requires something new every decade or so. Reading Augel’s work is simply wonderful and I really hope this illustrator has another collection planned. While some readers may argue not every historical figure needs his or her younger mischievous self realized, I feel that when it’s done right, it’ll do more than inspire. For Mozart, it’s a candid look at how he’s best remembered—a man who sees music everywhere he goes.
5 Stars out of 5