Who has not watched Disney’s 1960s Mary Poppins? Or Sound of Music? And who of us did not want to sing like Julie Andrews? Well, even though it sounds like she popped out of the womb doing these kind of things, her life was anything but simple. First, her mother traveled (she was a piano player) and was away a lot. Second, her parents would divorce, and she would eventually be sent to live with her mother and stepfather in war torn London. And then there was the thing about, though she practiced as she was told, and had a voice that was amazing, she had no joy in singing. Song After Song: The Musical Life of Julie Andrews paints all of this and more on the pages illustrated by Ilaria Urbinati.
Julie Hedlund shows how a little girl is taken from her beloved father to the desperation of the London Blitz. Hedlund gives us the overview of Andrews life, with poetic and romanticized words. And Urbinati has equally lush illustrations. Colors and detail float along the page. The words and music that came from Andrews grace the page. We see her performances, even the one in front of the Queen of England and the afterwards continues the story by wrapping things up with a few extras and a timeline.
Since I was curious about a couple of the images of Andrews with various siblings, (wondering which parent they “belonged too” and how many she had) I stumbled into the rabbit hole of her life. If you want a little scandal and gossip, peek at her Wikipedia page. But there is more than just that.
This book is for older readers (at least five and up) and due September 2023 and read via an online reader copy (though I would have preferred a RL edition, as I’m curious about the size of the finished product).