Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Strange Mr. Satie by M. T. Anderson

Strange Mr. Satie

by M. T. Anderson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
937129,846 (3.8)1



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 1 mention

Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
The progression of music through time has taken the listener from primitive drums to the Gregorian Chant and from there to the centuries of great classical music from artists such as Mozart, Beethoven, and Handel. But at the end of the 1800s when Erik Satie began to compose and play his music, it was seen and heard and absurd, loud, ridiculous, and strange.

Erik Satie himself was a bit of an oddity in that he didn't like the ways things were - rules for how music should be, rules for behavior in school, rules for romance, rules for how to dress. He was at odds even with the French avant-garde community of those days.

My three girls took years of piano lessons and studied music on into college. I don't recall their playing any of Satie's compositions though they did play twentieth century composers. So to see just who Erik Satie was and what his music was all about that was so absurd and disruptive, I looked him up and found a plethora of listings online of his music.

Now about this children's biography Strange Mr. Satie: Composer of the Absurd. I have reviewed another of M.T.Anderson's biographies - Handle and found that he and the illustrators do a magnificent job of presenting these people to the young child. They make it interesting, fun, and informative. And they make the Mommy or Teacher want to research further into the life of the individual and his work.

The quirky life and absurdity of Satie is well captured by Petra Mathers illustrations. The cover illustration of a Satie seated at a grand piano with a jumble of stuff emanating from the sound board interior of the piano is spot on to represent the mixture of sounds Satie incorporated into his music.

The author M.T.Anderson tells the story of Satie's sad and troubled life with an easy style in short lines of prose. He helps the reader garner a bit of an understanding that this troubled man who had a wealth of music stored inside him that was trying to be released and the difficulties he had in coping with the realities of his day.

A terrific children's biography and perhaps it could lead to a study of music styles and troubled artists.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Candlewick Press to facilitate this review. Opinions are solely my own. I was not compensated for the review. ( )
  VeraGodley | Feb 26, 2016 |
I really liked this book for several reasons. I like that the author kept the text interesting and fun to read. She used phrases like, "where all of the poets, the painters, the actors and dancers, the wizards and wisecrackers would sit and sip and scribble ideas or talk about art." This makes the text very fun to read; rather than just simply saying there were wizards talking about art. I also enjoyed the way the author conveyed messages in a way that children would understand. She explains that Satie has a bad temper and often has tantrums. It is very developmentally appropriate to tell the story this way instead of saying that Satie would curse and scream at all of his friends. The author makes a very old story easy for a young audience to understand. The overall message of this story is that it is okay to be different. Even if no one supports or likes what you do, you should still pursue what makes you happy. ( )
  eschoe1 | Sep 30, 2014 |
I love many of M.T. Anderson's books, so I was hoping that this wouldn't disapoint. This is the kind of Anderson story I like. The writing is sparing and eloquent. He writes in a manner that allows a story to be understood, without sacrificing any of the artistry of true poetic form. I didn't know who Eric Satie was, but I'm finding that the more I read the more I realize I don't know. Anyway, of the many picture book biographies that I've been reading lately, this is probably my favorite. Not only was the book written at an exceptional level; the illustrations including the endpages were great. If you have the opportunity, read the quotes lavishly draped over the endpages. They are quite interesting, in an oddball style. ( )
  matthewbloome | May 19, 2013 |
I would use this book along with others about artists. I have never heard of this man and would like to hear some of his music, which the author's note identifies as being used often as background music for movies and advertisements. Along with the author's note, the information for further reading and listening makes it a good reference item. The author suggested listening to Satie's better known works, the Gymopedies, the Bnossiennes and Three Pieces in the Shape of a Pear. Several are on You Tube and they are familiar and haunting. I can see why someone would say they are both happy and sad. One listener left this comment: "I love how this song can be both sad and joyfull, terrible and beautifull at the same time. I can see images of war and suffering as well images of nature and its beauty or think about wonderfull days. It is very universal and timeless. I guess that is why it is so great. Everyone hears something different. But it offers something special and personal to each listener. Does that make sense? Dont know .. maybe im just a crazy man babbling :)"

Samurailord 3 months ago 107 Samurailord ( )
  kthomp25 | Dec 8, 2010 |
To me, the perfect picture book. The writing is lyrical and poetic, the drawings are quirky and totally fit the story. Eric Satie was a creative outsider who did not fit into the mainstream as a boy or an adult. In the story he is shown in a sympathetic and lovely way and the message is to appreciate the individual and that their view of the world is just different, not wrong, or something to laugh at, but to be appreciated. Everyone has a place. This book could be used to enrich many lessons. ( )
  oapostrophe | May 31, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children's Literature)
Satie, a composer known for his compositions which defied the conventions of the time, lived an equally unconventional life. Briefly and simply Anderson places him among his artist friends, all of whom were in rebellion against "the world of rules and polite smiles..." of the turn of the last century. He also does his best to convey for young readers how unusual both Satie's music and his life were. Satie had a terrible temper, lived eccentrically in poverty, then went back to school to obtain his music degree. His creations were severely criticized. But Anderson feels that sometimes "they can sound like him dancing, strange Mr. Satie, a child-man dancing...alone." Mathers's colored illustrations ably visualize some of the text's surreal imagery. Mixing double-page typical French street scenes with vignettes of the composer, his friends, and their creations, she creates a sort of rhythm in her low-key, oddly comical illustrations to accompany the image-filled, blank-verse-like text. Here is a book that could really use an accompanying CD to help understand the text. An author's note adds factual information. The end-papers, adapted from Satie's Memoirs of an Amnesiac, give a hint of his eccentricity. 2003, Viking/ Penguin Young Readers Group, $16.99. Ages 5 to 9.

added by kthomp25 | editChildren's Literature, Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
GraceAnne DeCandido (Booklist, Nov. 1, 2003 (Vol. 100, No. 5))
Anderson, who gave us the delightful Handel, Who Knew What He Liked (2001), and Mathers, who illustrated the quirky Little Love Song (1992), team up for a deliciously offbeat look at the French composer Erik Satie, a very odd man who made very odd music: "like an old chant and wild tunes. . . mixed together." Satie threw the artist he loved out the window (but Suzanne Valadon was also an acrobat and survived), and he had some mighty peculiar personal habits (he didn't take baths, scraping himself with stones, instead). Mathers strikingly reflects the composer's life and times by using surrealistic elements in her pictures: Satie's piano's pedals look like a leg and foot; the hats people wear at the famous cafe Le Chat Noir might be plates or clocks or bumblebees. Anderson's text has a fine rhythm, and it doesn't shirk at the strangeness, making this suitable for older children, as well. An excellent author's note fills in the biography. Category: Books for the Young--Nonfiction. 2003, Viking, $16.99. Gr. 1-3.
added by kthomp25 | editBooklist, GraceAnne DeCandido
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670036374, Hardcover)

In Paris, at the turn of the twentieth century, when artists were experimenting with new ways of seeing things, Erik Satie had something new to say about music. Most people didn't understand his pieces; critics called his music surreal. But Erik Satie didn't care. He wanted to make music that followed no rules but its own. Satie's life was strange and wonderful, frenetic and lonely all at the same time. He was friends with Picasso, and with wizards and puppeteers; he scraped himself with a stone instead of bathing, and he once threw his acrobat girlfriend out a window. Now award-winning author M. T. Anderson tells the story of the irreverent French composer in a biography that is witty, accessible, and endlessly surprising, while Petra Mathers' fanciful illustrations capture all the vibrancy that was Erik Satie's topsy-turvy world.

Illustrations by Petra Mathers.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:23 -0400)

Introduces the life of the French composer, Erik Satie, who spent his entire career challenging established conventions in music.

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
3 wanted

Popular covers


Average: (3.8)
1 1
3 6
4 8
5 5

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 111,631,984 books! | Top bar: Always visible