Written by Amie Jane Leavitt
Songwriters often stay in the background, but Bruno Mars is becoming a celebrity on the strength of his performances, as well as his songwriting. His style is a blend of 50s and 60s ballad-storytelling with an up-to-date sound. Many artists love his songs and perform them. More and more, however, Bruno and his band record and premiere his songs, especially now that he has won numerous awards including a Grammy and a People’s Choice award. This biography shows that his rise to fame hasn’t been easy. Bruno’s love of music is one factor that helped him through the rough times, as well as the support of a loving and musical family. His shows are all about having fun with the music and he learned that from his parents who had a long-running oldies act in Hawaii. Bruno loved Elvis and finally convinced his parents to let him do his impression in their act. He was so popular that he landed a part in the movie “Honeymoon in Vegas.” As he grew up, he added Michael Jackson to his repertoire. He graduated from high school and moved to Los Angeles with high hopes. There he struggled, but this is where he learned how to write and to work with other musicians. As his songs got more popular and he gathered musicians to work with, his career started to rise. A story of perseverance and hard work for a likable young man. If your readers don’t know Bruno’s name, they soon will.
The photographs are laid out well, giving the book a lot of pizzazz. The extra features include a chronology, a discography, a list of awards, detailed bibliography and index. A reading worksheet of the famous singers in the book could lead to an extension activity, possibly a slide show. The reading level is a bit high for fourth graders, but they will be drawn in.