Recent Reviews

“This is the perfect book for young musicians and piano teachers. I’m proud to display it in my studio. Grieg’s popular and exciting songs promise to entertain the listener’s ears, while the author’s exciting rendition of Ibsen’s play ‘Peer Gynt’ will capture young children’s imagination and facilitate music theory and appreciation for the older ones. The beautiful illustrations add a wonderful touch of adventure to the story of Peer venturing farther off from home by the forest’s edge and slipping through the front gate of a castle he discovers. The musical dynamics of Grieg’s masterpiece, intertwined with encountering the Mountain King, will provide an enjoyable and lasting memory for the reader. I love this beautiful book and find it to be very stimulating and engaging for all. It’s awesome and will make a great addition for home and school library, too. I highly recommend it.”–LadyD Books

“In the Hall of the Mountain King Adopted from Henrik Ibsen by Allison Flannery, illustrated by Vesper Stamper (with music by Edvard Grieg included on CD) (Samizdat Press) $22.00 From a wonderful indie press comes this spectacularly cool project, a playful and modern book illustrating this classic symphony — with a CD enclosed! Kids will love this classy, if slightly off-kilter adaptation, and will come to appreciate the music, and ponder the lessons of the play Peer Gynt, upon which it is based. Flannery is a music-loving, story-telling kindergarden music teacher from Colorado and Vesper Stamper, a graduate of the prestigious Parsons School of Design (and one half of the Ben + Vesper indie rock duo) is a visual artist from Jersey City, NJ. Kudos to Samizdat for releasing such an interesting project, and going the extra mile to get the CD enclosed.”
–Byron Borger, Hearts & Minds Books

“This book is a wonderful illustrated adaption of a classical piece of music, “In the Hall of the Mountain King,” composed by Edvard Grieg for the sixth scene of act 2 in Henrik Ibsen’s 1876 play Peer Gynt. Just as this riveting piece of music, with its dynamic changes in rhythm and sound, plays with our ears and emotions, first-time author Allison Flannery captures the reader’s attention with the ever-building adventure of a young Peer Gynt and his dog. The main character ventures “through the forest and out the other side; farther than he had ever been before.” It is there that he finds “the best treasure of all—A CASTLE!”

Paying homage to the Norwegian heritage of both the playwright and composer, Flannery has set the book in Norway, circa 1860. The watercolor illustrations by Vesper Stamper match the energy of the music and amplify Flannery’s words with gusto. There is a lot of illustrative detail that plays with Flannery’s enchanting storyline and children will enjoy seeking out the Mountain King’s daughter who can be found on almost every page. To complete the interactive experience, Flannery has provided a CD with 5 pieces of music from the Peer Gynt Suite, along with a three-step lesson plan that is easy and fun and links the story to the music.

This is a pitch-perfect book that will capture the attention of an entire classroom, while also teaching children about rhythm and whole body movement. Despite the fact that this is a perfect book for any family, teacher, or caregiver with an appreciation for music, Flannery’s retelling stands alone as a wonderful story for all picture book fans.”

The Children’s Book Review