Friday, April 12, 2013

A Book Review: Robert Schumann and Mascot Ziff

Robert Schumann and Mascot Ziff
Written: by Opal Wheeler

Illustrated by: Christine Price

Reviewed by: Hannah DeLadurantey

Summery of the life and works of the renowned composer, Robert Schumann, and his cat (Mascot Ziff).

Concerning Content:

In Chapter 1

  • There is mention of Schumann telling Ghost Stories. I don't believe this was necessary to move the story along, and Ghost Stories are unbiblical. 

In Chapter 3

  • Schumann is starving for music and good instruments after he has entered the law, so he enters a music shop and lies to the clerk, telling him that he is there to try out pianos for the Lord of Branburg. But in reality, he's there to play on the pianos to appease his own musical desires. I would not have minded this story if the authoress had explained the wrongness of Schumann's deceitfulness, but instead she said Schumann “laughed at his own musical joke”.
It is never right to wink at sin. God does not wink at our sin and neither should we. For when we disobey God's laws, we threaten the state of where our very souls will spend eternity; Heaven or Hell.

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor- Exodus 20:16

For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God- Romans 3:23

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and life: no one cometh to the Father, but by me. - John 14:6

Chapter 4

  • “My good fortune!” is exclaimed by Robert because he now has his mothers very longed for blessing and permission to study music instead of the law.                                                                         The Bible clearly tells us that there is no such thing as “good fortune”  All things come from the hand of God.
But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips. -Job 2:10

Chapter 5

  • Fairies are said to have blest Robert and Clara Schumann's new baby girl; Marie. Fairies, like Ghost Stories are only fictitious inventions. It is God who creates and sustains life. Not fairies.
I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou [art] my God from my mother's belly. -Psalm 22:10

Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, [which] will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen. -Isaiah 44:2

  • “Good luck has come to us all” 

Again, fortune and luck do not exist, they are “fill in” words created by man, to take away from who really brings good things to us; God, the maker of heaven and earth.
Providence would have been a better word, so I think I'll cross the luck and fortune words out of this book and write in Providence.

Praiseworthy Content:

Chapter 1

  • Robert is disrespectful to an elder, and clubs him on his back with a stick. But, it doesn't end there! Robert's father, August, sees this incident, and Robert is duly punished for the unkind act

Chapter 5

  • Throughout this whole storybook of Robert Schumann's life, you read of the tension between Mother and Father Schumann's desires for Robert. Father Schumann encouraged his son in music, but Mother Schumann didn't. So, after Father Schumann dies, Mother Schumann requests, with great urgency, that Robert give up music and turn to the law. Robert in response to his mothers request, is shown to have not agreed with his mother's wishes, but willingly puts himself under them and obeys. Later in the story, Robert petitions his mother to allow him to study music once again, and is granted it.
Honor thy Father and Mother which is the first commandment with promise. -Ephesians 6:2

Chapter 4

  •  Robert's honorableness is asking Mr. Weik permission to marry Clara Weik. 

Chapter 5

  • Robert Schumann was a very thoughtful man, and multi-generational in his vision. He composed in a very forward thinking and persistent way, all manner of compositions for his collection of; Children's Pieces that were written for his own dear children.

Concluding Thoughts:
Scattered throughout the whole book, Opal Wheeler weaved in various other composers names and concerts that Schumann gave. It was intriguing to see who crossed paths with Schumann, who influenced him and who he influenced.
The beginning mentions Napoleon Bonaparte and a few other political things that would have been going on during Schumann's life. I liked that you got a little bit bigger of a picture of what was going on during that time period and who else was composing music as well.
Like the other book Wheeler wrote on Bach, this book contains lots of abridged compositions that little ones can use to tinker around on the piano. 

In the end, Robert Schumann and Mascot Ziff will still find itself on Hannah's bookshelf, give or take a few changes to its typeset:)

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