Reviews for Beatles Were Fab (And They Were Funny)

Booklist Reviews 2013 March #1
A book or two (or thousand) has been published on the Beatles, but here's a fresh angle: a picture book focusing on the Fab Four's humor. Krull and Brewer trace the lovable Liverpudlians from their humble roots to their final days in the studio, pausing at each juncture to remind us of their wit. Sometimes this works well: Paul refuses a suggestion about changing a "yeah, yeah, yeah" by replying, "no, no, no," for example. Other times, these bits of mirth feel shoehorned. In fact, the most successful section is when the authors dispense with story line and give each band member a full page on which each of his choicest jibes are presented. Innerst's acrylic-and-ink illustrations do a fine job with the likenesses, turning the mop tops into droll bobble heads and inserting nifty ideas throughout, as when touring is depicted as the band riding down a guitar case like a roller coaster. Kids new to the Beatles might wonder what's the ado, but put on an LP, and they'll probably start bouncing to the beat. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
Krull and Brewer tell the story not just of international superstars but of friends who made one another laugh. Drawn with exaggerated features, the lads are all legs and bowl-cut hair, their ample noses serving to distinguish one from the others. Youngsters wondering why the band is still beloved by their parents and grandparents will understand after reading the humorous anecdotes. Timeline. Bib.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2013 #3
Since the early sixties, the Beatles have defined the musical landscape of the world, influencing generations of listeners and musicians. Beatlemania, from its beginning in Liverpool to the band's final public concert in San Francisco's Candlestick Park in 1966, gripped the world. Krull and Brewer tell the story not just of international superstars but of four friends who enjoyed a joke and made one another laugh. Jellybeans on the end pages set the stage for illustrations that bring the Fab Four alive as regular guys who are just a little bit surprised by their fame: a roller coaster (about to plunge down the edge of a giant guitar case) lets the reader know exactly what kind of thrilling ride this band was on. Drawn with exaggerated features, the lads are all legs and bowl-cut hair, with their ample noses serving to distinguish one from the others. Even Ed Sullivan, who is practically a caricature anyway, has that same leggy and oversized potato-head look -- marking this as a lighthearted book, not the final word. Youngsters wondering why the band is still beloved by their parents and grandparents will understand after reading the many humorous anecdotes. The only thing missing is the actual music. Download some tunes or crank up the turntable to remind yourself just how fab these four really were. Sources and a timeline are appended. robin l. smith

Kirkus Reviews 2013 March #1
Many adult readers will agree wholeheartedly with the title of this heartfelt paean to the Fab Four, but unfortunately, Krull and Brewer don't quite manage to offer enough evidence to effectively convey to children the Beatles' unique appeal and immense contributions to pop culture. The narrative is straightforward. From their early years in Liverpool through their first big hit, the rapturous response they received in the U.S. and their eventual decision to go their separate ways, the trajectory of the Beatles' incredible success is clearly plotted. Quirky details suggest that serious research informs the text. Unfortunately some sweeping statements may leave young listeners wondering just why the Beatles were considered "so cool, so funny, so fab." Innerst's accomplished acrylic-and-ink illustrations also seem more geared toward nostalgic adults. Exaggerated features and odd perspectives abound. Visual jokes and references enrich the paintings and extend the text, as when the band appears on a roller coaster formed by a guitar case plastered with stickers, but will almost certainly go over the heads of the intended audience. Parents and (more likely) grandparents who want to introduce children to their favorite band would do better to play a song or two on whatever device is handy--though as Brewer and Krull note, the transformative impact of the Beatles was such that kids may not even recognize the originality of their music. (Informational picture book. 7-9) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 April #3

The trio behind Lincoln Tells a Joke crafts a witty chronicle of the Beatles's rise to fame, with special attention to their humor and nonchalance. Innerst contributes playful caricatures using thick, blotchy acrylics, while Krull and Brewer speckle the story with anecdotes, including the band's particular fondness for jelly babies (jelly beans were the closest American approximation) and their famously cheeky responses to press questions ("Q: What do you do when you're cooped up in a hotel room? George: We ice-skate"). The authors make it clear that, even as Beatlemania waned, the Beatles were just beginning to define themselves; an illustration riffing on the cover of Abbey Road pictures a more mature John, Paul, Ringo, and George, hinting at their future experimentation and introspection. Readers will certainly want to hear the songs that "changed music forever"--maybe even on vinyl. Ages 6-9. (Mar.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 May

Gr 3-5--This big, bright, bold picture book introduces the Beatles and describes their fan culture. The authors have used actual quotes from the "Fab Four" to demonstrate their self-deprecating humor. It comes through loud and strong. The rise to fame happens quickly and seems almost as unbelievable today as it did in the Beatles' glory days. Many songs, concert dates, and crazy details are included. A time line covers major happenings but strangely leaves out when Ringo joined the band. One double-page illustration alludes to the famous Abbey Road album and Apple Records, but nothing in the text gives that information, so it would be left to adults, probably grandparents, to share their knowledge with younger readers. Likewise the use of 45 rpm records in the illustrations and the reaction to the Beatle haircuts calls for some explanation as well. This title could well develop cross-generational sharing or new fans for the Beatles and their music. A fun and nostalgic look at the 1960s.--Erlene Bishop Killeen, Stoughton Area School District, WI

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