Big and square like the LP covers that helped launch their careers, this picture-book introduction to the Beatles is a loving tribute to the music they made and the quick wits they revealed whenever they spoke. Authors Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer first offer a lively and understandably abbreviated version of the band’s formation (no Pete Best or Stu Sutcliffe) and then give a sense of the infectious sound and other factors that sparked Beatlemania. Stacy Innerst’s fab acrylic-and-ink illustrations mix appealing caricatures of the band with surreal visions of their lives, such as the roller-coaster ride they take on a gigantic guitar case. The authors make the point that the band members’ shared sense of humor helped them deal with the screaming and chaos. As Paul put it, “There were just four of us in the back of that car, laughing hysterically.” Each Beatle also gets a solo page with a few of his best quips (“Q: What do you call your hairstyle? George: Arthur”). The droll delivery is, alas, missing from the printed page. The narrative comes to a close with the Beatles’ last major concert, at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, but parents can fill in the story with their old LPs.

Abby McGanney Nolan


(And They Were Funny)

By Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer

’The Beatles Were Fab (and They Were Funny)’ by Kathleen Krull, Paul Brewer and Stacy Innerst (Harcourt Children's)

Illustrated by Stacy Innerst.

Harcourt, $16.99. Ages 6-9