Book Review: Travels with Amadeus; Lessons From Amadeus

Sep 2, 2018 by


Title : Amadeus Teaches- Learning Together; Staying Strong

Author: Colin Hannaford

Date of Publication: 2018

Reviewer: Michael F. Shaughnessy –

Everyone once is a while a small book comes along that is bittersweet. It is chockful of wonderful memories and many important insights, yet contains some sad, depressing parts. This is such a book. I have called it ” Travels with Amadeus”( because it chronicles the various adventures good old Colin Hannaford had with his dog Amadeus on trips to Oxford and Cambridge) and also “Lessons from Amadeus” in that the book contains so much wisdom from his dog in terms of living life, enjoying life, and the pleasure of having a dog- while at the same time considering what lessons a dog can teach about learning and education.  There were a few lessons chronicled in the book which are important. Dogs seem to love unconditionally. Perhaps teachers should regard their pupils unconditionally. While they may not do good in math, perhaps they excel in art, music, dance, theatre, drama or P.E. Colin Hannaford discusses some of the very bad stuff that he has seen in education in terms of ranking pupils in the English system ( and I am sure we do pretty much the same here in the colonies) and with Amadeus along for the ride- he tries to share some wisdom.

Another realm of importance- respect. Teachers need to respect pupils- and pupils need to respect each other. What a Concept!  But all too often in schools, there is this adversarial issue. Students competing for grades. Teachers wanting to control students.

Colin, added by Amadeus describes some basic issues about the brain- left, right, middle and so forth and indicates that teachers need to know a bit about ” brain based learning” and even left handedness !

Along the way in the book we meet a bunch of nice people, enjoying their time with Amadeus-Mr. Shanahan , and Jess and and Tim and Mick.

At the end, Colin explains the purpose of the book and anyone who has ever had a dog or cat or any pet and lost them, will be able to understand. They share so much of our lives- and ask for so little. As I write this I have two wonderful dogs at my feet, ready to do whatever, and only wanting a bit of water and food at 6:00a.m. and 6:00p.m. respectively.

Colin has shared with us the fact that a bookstore in Oxford -Blackwell’s has begun to do publicity and the book has also been covered in the Daily Mail. Along with the book is a picture of 8 lovely British girls- in front of Blackwell’s , holding the book, and relishing in the fame that this book and the picture will bring.

Profits from the book will go to Dog Trust U.K. and if you have good fingers, you should be able to contact Colin Hannaford on this wonderful Internet device. As for Amadeus- he has done his job and been a wonderful companion for many years and encouraged Colin to take pen to paper once again to share compassionate and kind ideas. And for those of you who do not know- dog is god spelled backwards !

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