Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf


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About the Author

Sergei Prokofiev, one of the greatest composers of the 20th century, was born in 1891 in the Ukraine and died in 1953 in Moscow. He composed Peter and the Wolf in 1936.

Peter Malone has illustrated many distinguished picture books, including Brother Sun, Sister Moon: The Life and Stories of St. Francis, The World of King Arthur and His Court, and Magic Flute. Peter Malone lives in Bath, England.


PreS-Gr 3-This musical fantasy about a disobedient boy who leaves the safety of the garden for the unknown world of the meadow, cleverly conquering the danger he encounters, has been a childhood favorite since 1936. An opening page introduces the characters, naming and depicting the instrument associated with each one. Prokofiev purists, however, will have issues with this retelling. The text is much longer, much of it hammering home the obvious (that the wolf is dangerous) or providing unnecessary background (the content of grandfather's dream). This extraneous verbiage leaves less room for the music to spin the story. It is the ending, though, that will prove most troubling to longtime fans. This wolf is a pathetic captive, begging to go home, feeling guilty about his deed; the hunters are nervous Nellies; grandfather has changed his tune from paternal skepticism to pride; and- yes, the duck is coughed out as the wolf is returned to the forest. The impact of the drama is considerably lessened. Malone's illustrations are well matched to the story, evoking a somewhat surreal and sometimes humorous world with a Russian flavor. A serviceable CD, recorded by the Cincinnati Pops and narrated by Peter Thomas, is included. Erna Voigt's faithful rendition (Godine, 1979; o.p.) set a standard for this story that is hard to beat.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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