Before a few weeks ago, I had never heard of Zeezok Publishing, and certainly not their Great Musicians Series, so I am guessing that many of you have not either.
Zeezok Publishing was established in 2003, and their belief is, "It is better to build children than to repair men." To accomplish that, they publish quality literature and educational books to use in "training the next generation." The Great Musicians Series certainly meets those goals.
I want to confess that when I received these I thought, "I really have NO interest in studying these guys, even if they are famous musicians." I admit, it's a weak area of mine. Despite my degree in Social Science Education and minor in History, and despite having a son who is playing classical piano and an artistic daughter, the lives of artists have never interested me much. Until we started reading these books. I LOVED them. They are SO interesting and well written. You don't want to put them down.
This series currently covers Edward MacDowell, Franz Schubert, Frederic Chopin (Early Years and Later Years), George Frederic Handel, Joseph Hadyn, Beethoven, Mozart, Robert Schumann, Bach, Stephen Foster, and Brahms. In addition to the books, there are also study guides available for each musician and if you buy them in pairs, the books and study guides also are grouped with a supplemental CD that has music from the musicians and coloring pages and sheet music.
The pros: Did I mention that I LOVED these books? I wish we had gotten the whole collection because I want to have them all. The two we got, Schumann and Handel were so rich in information. To call them biographies does not do them justice. They are delightful and they give you such a sense of the history and culture of the time too. Even if you have NO interest in the musician, I highly encourage you to get them when you study their period of history because they make for great "living" books. But I must admit that the books actually drew me into an interest in the musicians as well. My son, the piano student, enjoyed them too.
The cons: None. Zip. Zero. They were great.
The bottom line: You HAVE to check these out. It would serve you well to own them all. And you must get the study guide. It's so helpful. It reminds me a bit of the FIAR type supplementation-giving you background information and timelines and items of interest. The books are available HERE for $12.95 each and the study guides are $4.95 each. As I mentioned, some books are pre-grouped with another one, so that the two books, study guides, and the accompanying CD are $35.80. Since the CDs are $7.95 on their own, it is a great deal to get the package.
To see what other members of the TOS Crew had to say, go HERE. Some of them reviewed other products that Zeezok publishes, so you should check it out.
Legal Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received the Handel-Schumann set for the purpose of giving my review. Those books and the accompanying CD are the only compensation I received for this review.