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Edward MacDowell and His Cabin in the Pines (and Study Guide) Review by Cindy West

Book by Opal Wheeler; Study Guide by Judy Wilcox
Zeezok Publishing
PO Box 1960
Elyria, OH 44036

Edward MacDowell is a late 19th-century composer whose life, from boyhood to adulthood is brought to life in this easy chapter book. Written for elementary aged children, this biography presents MacDowell's life in four chapters. Your elementary-aged children will enjoy reading about his antics and adventures!

Within the simple yet enjoyable storyline, you'll learn about such things as his early interest in music, his schooling, how he met his wife, and the history behind many of his compositions. The book is 172 pages long, but the font is large and there are plenty of nice black-and-white illustrations throughout. Musical scores are included for several of his pieces as well (which is a very nice addition to the book)! A fast reader will not require much time at all to read the entire book.

For the parent, there is a 32-page study guide available to go with the book. It provides a map of Edward MacDowell's travels mentioned in the book and a timeline of his life. For each chapter, there are comprehension questions to ask, character qualities to discuss, and additional historical information to fill in some of the details behind what your child reads in the book.

My children and I enjoyed reading this book and learning about the man behind the music. I thoroughly enjoyed the illustrations and music that were interspersed throughout. I didn't use the study guide to its full capacity, but I appreciated the information it provided--especially the character quality discussion points.

Homeschooling families who already study composers or are hoping to add a composer study to their curriculum will enjoy this biography and study guide.

Product review by Cindy West, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April 2009