Daily Archives: February 19, 2010

TOS Crew: Zeezok Publishing

I’ve been familiar with Zeezok Publishing for a number of years. We’ve enjoyed quite a few of their composer biographies, including Bach, Mozart, and Haydn. As a part of the TOS Crew, we received a set of Chopin biographies.

We were fascinated to read about Chopin’s life. These charming books were written by Opal Wheeler in the 1940s and have been brought back into print by Zeezok Publishing. They are sensitively written and suited for children’s sensibilities. That means that they work for our conservative tastes and sensitive listeners.

The set included a study guide (by Judy Wilcox) to use with the biographies. The guide contains maps, a timeline of the composer’s life, character qualities described in the story, and lots of background information on what was happening in the world around Chopin. There was also a CD with musical excerpts (music included in the book as examples of Chopin’s music) and PDF coloring pictures taken from the illustrations in the books.

The books’ illustrations are simple pen-and-ink drawings that appeal to children. As mentioned above, coloring pages with the same illustrations are available in PDF form on the accompanying CD, so that your young ones can color as they follow along in the story.

Reading through a composer biography, while talking over the background notes, mapping the composer’s travels and marking a timeline with historical events and the names of contemporaries, is a wonderful way to make both music and history come alive. As I mentioned, we’ve really enjoyed Opal Wheeler’s series on composers, and look forward to reading more.

The Chopin early-and-later-years special set (two biographies, study guide and CD) is available from Zeezok for $30.90.

To read more TOS Crew reviews of this book, click here.

Disclaimer: Members of the TOS Crew received free materials from Zeezok Publishing for review purposes. No additional monetary compensation was involved. Opinions expressed here are our own family’s.