Saturday, August 14, 2021

Review: King of Ragtime by Stephen Costanza

 As someone, who has spent a large chunk of my life surrounded by music, I always have a weakness for books, which open the same door to young readers. Today's review dances to the tune of non-fiction and introduces a historical musical figure, Scott Joplin. And if you think ragtime is something from yesterday, think twice because I know several young piano players, who love diving into this genre.

Let's dive into the world of music, shall we?

The Story of Scott Joplin
by Stephen Costanza
Atheneum Books 
Picture Book
56 pages


S&S/Atheneum has bought Stephen Costanza's picture book biography, Scott Joplin, King of Ragtime. The story of America's greatest musical pioneers follows Joplin from his first meeting with a piano to the creation of his record-breaking hit, “Maple Leaf Rag.”



The artwork alone makes this a read to pick up, and the history grabs as well.

Scott Joplin is also called the King of Ragtime. Not only was he a talented musician, especially in this genre, but he can also be seen as the one, who introduced it to the world. This book follows his life from a child all the way to his success.

Firstly, I'm going to have to mention the illustrations because these alone make the book worth a read. The style is full of life and fun, and invites emotions as well as imagination. I enjoyed gazing at the pages and getting lost in the artwork.

With such great artwork, I was scared that the text might not hold up as well, but this fear was totally unnecessary. The story flows smoothly, brings the scenes to life and explains each stage of Scott Joplin's life in a way which young readers will understand. Plus, it gives a little glance into the time period and what was happening around that time. 

This is a great book to pick up to introduce kids to an important musician and a piece of history. 

And here he is...

Stephen Costanza has illustrated and written several books for children, including three about music, Mozart Finds a Melody, Vivaldi and the Invisible Orchestra, and King of Ragtime. He studied music and composition, and for a time played piano professionally, performing both ragtime and classical music. He lives on a small island in Maine. Visit him at

1 comment:

Heather N. Quinn said...

My dad was a musician. I will look for Stephen Costanza's books to introduce musicians to my grandkids. Thanks!