“The Beatles Were Fab (and They Were Funny)” by Kathleen Krull & Paul Brewer, illustrated by Stacy Innerst, c. 2013, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99/$19.95, 40 pages
The other day, while playing outside, you spent 10 minutes watching ants.
Ants are very cool: they run all over, really fast, like they don’t know where they’re going. Some of them even carry things that seem heavy – if you’re an ant, that is.
You like watching bugs, beetles and butterflies, though you know that they make some people squirm and scream. But in the new book “The Beatles Were Fab (and They were Funny)” by Kathleen Krull & Paul Brewer, illustrated by Stacy Innerst, you’ll read about Beatles that made people dance.
Life wasn’t easy when John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr grew up. Their northern England town was “scruffy” but the lads didn’t care much; they had their music and they had fun together, especially when they were coming up with a name for their band. They had a lot of possibilities, but they eventually settled on calling themselves The Beatles, and that made them laugh.
In the first few years that The Beatles were together, they played “hundreds and hundreds of shows” in small clubs in England and Germany. That didn’t pay well, but it made them very popular and it gave them a chance to be silly. Pretty soon, they got a recording contract and their first song went on the radio.
That song was followed by another and another, and fans screamed for more. The Beatles made a record that sold a million copies, and they stopped playing in small clubs. Instead, they played and sang in front of the Queen of England.
When one of their songs became a No. 1 hit in America , the lads naturally wanted to make their U.S. fans happy, so they came to New York. Three thousand people met The Beatles at the airport. Even more came to see them at TV studios, at the Hollywood Bowl, onstage in Denver and in Philadelphia. At some concerts, the fans screamed so loud that The Beatles couldn’t even hear themselves!
Then, all too soon, it was over. But by the time Beatlemania ended in 1970, John, Paul, George and Ringo had recorded more than 200 songs together.
“The Beatles Were Fab (and They Were Funny)” is a very good book. Older Beatles fans will love reading it aloud to kids and grandkids. But will little readers care about what’s inside this children’s picture book?
I questioned that – even though I liked this book quite a bit. Authors Kathleen Krull & Paul Brewer tell the story of the Fab Four in a way that kids can surely understand, even if they don’t grasp the significance of it. Instead, I think the kid-appeal of this book may be found in the artwork by Stacy Innerst: it’s colorful, and there are a few good giggles hidden in each page.
Perhaps the best way to introduce your kids to this book is to start with some Beatles music. Hit PLAY, read “The Beatles Were Fab (and They Were Funny),” and your child will be saying yeah, yeah, yeah.
Terri Schlichenmeyer has been a professional book reviewer for more than a decade. She lives in Wisconsin.