Amy Beach was a child prodigy, but one her parents seemingly did not wish to take advantage of. She would deal with being a female of her era, but eventually would be one of the first female composers paving the way for other women to become involved in all areas of the genre. Pitch Perfect and Persistent! A Musical Debut of Amy Cheney Beach is an educational and entertaining picture book. Though I read via an online reader copy, this book by Caitlin DeLems is available in print. The story is familiar (a woman struggling for, and making, her place in the world), but also we see how the music world of the time worked. We see a woman who is strong, who won’t take no for an answer, but would have to adapt herself to the situation as well.
Alison Jay is in full stereotypical illustration work with the signature style of “cracks in the art” but is so engrossing, you do not see that, and just flow along with the text. They are not overly colorful, but also not muted, making the art somewhat their own character, but a strong support for the story as well. They might not have been my personal first choice as an illustrator, but I like the ambiance they bring to things.
Several extras are included, continuing the timeline of Beach’s life, and much more as well. A great book for most ages, though the picture book format might turn off the older readers, and the longer story might be too much for the younger crowd, it can be adapted to fit your American history, women’s history or music classes. Also, you can add I Am Mozart, Too: The Lost Genius of Maria Anna Mozart by Audrey Ades if you would like to know more about women in music and women composers specifically.