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Kids' Activities

Jane Lind presents ...

You Don't Mess With Mozart

By Janet Craig James

Theme: Social Relationships, Young Adult

You Don't Mess With Mozart

Megan, a teenager who is a gifted pianist, goes off to a summer music program and then on tour with the Young Peoples Orchestra through the North. The story begins when Megan gets on the bus to go to Ralston College and meets Bronwyn and Slope, also in the YPO.

Besides staring as the piano soloist and accompanist with the orchestra, Megan becomes part of a country group that Slope organized, "The Leftovers." This group brings out a different side of Megan, who has spent most of her life wrapped up in classical music, mainly Mozart.

Megan is totally dedicated to her music and is obsessed with Mozart, and at the summer music program she learns the discipline of playing the music as it was composed instead of going off on little musical tangents of her own.

When a famous singer comes to give a concert with the YPO, an accident prevents the singer's accompanist from playing and Megan is asked to fill in. She does so successfully, and is even offered the opportunity to travel with the singer and her accompanist through Europe to be available as a stand-in case the accompanist becomes ill. It seems a glamorous possibility, until Megan realizes that there is a chance she would never even play. Megan turns down the offer to pursue her dream of being a soloist and playing mainly Mozart.

The characters are full of the enthusiasm and liveliness typical of teenagers, but they come through with distinct personalities, true to life. The staff at the college, from the matron to the music professors, all stand out as people you might know from somewhere, and work together to fill out the entire scenario.


These questions apply to four books:
Jeremy Gates and the Magic Key
You Don't Mess with Mozart
Riding High
Patrick and the Actors

1. In these four books, which two characters, or groupings of characters, have the most genuine friendship? Explain your choice.

2. Write a paragraph or two to describe the relationship between Corrie and Crystal in Riding High.

3. In what way was Corrie important to Meg's accomplishments?

4. What technique did the author use in Patrick and the Actors to create suspense?

5. In Mozart, Bronwyn and Megan had very different families. How did that affect their friendship? Do you think it is easier to be friends with someone who is similar or different from you?

6. Explain how conflict in the relationships of the characters affects the development of the story plots in each of these books.

7. Choose one of these four books and write a different ending.

from the
Theme Catalogue and Teaching Guide for Children's Books
written for Penumbra Press by Jane Lind
© Jane Lind

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