Edgers, G. (2006). Who Were the Beatles?
New York: Grosset & Dunlap.
[99 pages. $4.99 paperback. ISBN: 04-48439069. Illustrated by Jeremy Tugeay.]
Among book genres, "biography" usually means "the life story of a particular person." Who Were the Beatles? is a biography, but not of an individual. It's the stow of the "life" of the world's most famous rock band, written for middle- and upper-elementary students.
Who Were the Beatles? contains traditional biographical elements; the first quarter of the book is comprised of biographies of John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Most of the remainder of the book takes place between the band's formation in 1957 and its breakup in 1970. The last few chapters focus on the band members' lives and careers since then.
The author is frank about the difficulties encountered by the band and its members. He chronicles John Lennon's early years, including the breakup of his parents when he was five. Later, he explains how personal shortcomings led to the demise of the Beatles. People and events from the 1960s are also woven into the narrative.
But Who Were the Beatles? captures the good times: the pride of the band members in their early accomplishments, their amazing ascendance to fame, and the incredible adulation of their fans. Particularly poignant are the scenes of their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show and their now-famous 1965 concert at Shea Stadium in New York.
When the Beatles toured North America in August 1965, they were definitely "thinking big." These rock shows set new records for the number of fans in attendance and the amount of money earned by the band.
But as you read in Chapter 8 of Who Were the Beatles?, the band and their managers encountered a number of obstacles when they planned the concerts. For example, no rock band had ever played concerts in baseball stadiums before, but the Beatles planned to play at three different stadiums in one week! Their August 15 concert at Shea Stadium in New York City has become the most famous for a number of reasons, including its size. But it's also well-known for its failures, including the seating plan and the stage setup.
In this activity, your group will create a three-dimensional model of an improved layout for the Beatles' Shea Stadium concert.
Suggested Grade Level: 5-6
Shea Stadium's Board of Supervisors is accepting proposals for the seating and stage layout for the concert. …