The Cardboard Piano

Overview

When Debbie gives Tina a cardboard piano, she is sure that Tina will love it. After all, Debbie spent a long time making it, and it looks just like a real piano. Now Tina can learn to play, too. It will be so amazing.

But just because you are friends with somebody, and just because you are the same in most ways, doesn't mean that you will always see eye to eye.

Friendship can be tricky. Really, really tricky. ...

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Overview

When Debbie gives Tina a cardboard piano, she is sure that Tina will love it. After all, Debbie spent a long time making it, and it looks just like a real piano. Now Tina can learn to play, too. It will be so amazing.

But just because you are friends with somebody, and just because you are the same in most ways, doesn't mean that you will always see eye to eye.

Friendship can be tricky. Really, really tricky. Even for true best friends. Even for Debbie and Tina.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Perkins subtly explores friendship in this understated, appealing picture book. Debbie (an older version appears in Perkins's All Alone in the Universe and the Newbery Medal-winning Criss Cross) and Tina spend their days "doing beautiful wonderful things"-playing dress up, making tents from bedspreads and talking. Debbie wants to share her piano lessons, too, and because Tina doesn't have a piano, Debbie painstakingly crafts a keyboard from cardboard so they can both practice. But she is sad when Tina loses interest. After questioning their friendship, Debbie ultimately concurs that a cardboard piano is missing the "best part," realizing that she and Tina share enough already. Perkins's dialogue, shown in speech bubbles, is spot on, and her watercolors reveal a range of underlying emotions in everyday moments. An animated DVD narrated by Perkins is also included. Ages 4-7. (Nov.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
Even the closest of friendships can be challenging, as Debbie finds out when she gives her very best friend Tina a cardboard piano. Debbie knows that Tina is fascinated by how Debbie is learning to make music on her real piano and is sure that the cardboard imitation will help her friend share the wonder. Not surprisingly, Tina finds that notes in her head are not a match for actually hearing them, and Debbie's gift is not very much fun. Debbie moves from being hurt to experiencing that a cardboard piano is hardly a match for the real thing. She also recognizes that she and Tina share many wonderful real experiences, including making cookies with iced topping. Perkins's text and illustrations work very well together; at times the narrative is reflected in the third person narrative; other times, the story is carried forward though use of speech balloons. Once again, this story reflects what a talent Lynn Perkins has for helping young children, tweens, and teens recognize what it means to be a friend. Reviewer: Mary Hynes-Berry
School Library Journal

Gr 1-3

The course of true friendship does not always run smooth, as Debbie and Tina discover. Although the girls enjoy rolling down hills, sleepovers on the lawn, riding bikes together (no-handed), they don't always agree on how to spend their time. That predicament reaches a crisis when Debbie, who's taking piano lessons, makes a cardboard keyboard for her friend so that the two of them can play duets. Tina gives it back-citing a lack of interest-and Debbie is crushed. Ultimately, the girls make up and by story's end their ongoing companionship is back in full swing. Perkins's "cardboard piano" derives from an incident (related briefly on the copyright page) about the celebrated composer Sergei Rachmaninoff who practiced on a silent piano while crossing the Atlantic. While the connection is a bit esoteric, it is handled in a totally child-centric way. However, the introduction of a new character on the last several pages seems contrived to make things right. Still, the necessity of understanding differences between friends may hit the right chord when needed most or work well in group situations where the message can be gently absorbed. Perkins's clear-toned watercolors touched with pen lines attractively appear in varied-sized spot illustrations. And the conversation bubbles that she injects in addition to the ongoing narrative nicely carry the story forward. The book includes a DVD, animated and narrated by the author.-Barbara Elleman, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA

Kirkus Reviews

Debbie, of 2005's Newbery-winning Criss Cross, reappears in a book for younger readers that quietly underscores the truth that friends can still be friends even if they have different enthusiasms and interests. Debbie's desire to share her piano lessons with best friend Tina inspires her to create a cardboard keyboard for her friend. When Tina returns the unused keyboard, Debbie, disappointed and hurt, realizes that the ersatz piano was no fun, but there are still many things they both like, such as making cookies and dancing. The children's dialogue is pitch-perfect, and the impressionistic paintings in bright watercolor, pen and ink are chockablock with witty details such as "cookies" made from stones, iced with mud and spread with a stick "utensil." Few authors understand the anatomy of childhood and the inherent small dramas of friendship with more emotional intelligence than Perkins. Her modest, good-humored explorations of juvenilia stand out for their acute but understated honesty. (DVD) (Picture book. 4-7)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061542657
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/30/2008
  • Edition description: DVD Included
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 823,256
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Lynne Rae Perkins was awarded the Newbery Medal for Criss Cross. She is also the author of the novel All Alone in the Universe, the award-winning companion to Criss Cross. An artist as well as a writer, Lynne Rae Perkins has published several acclaimed picture books, including The Broken Cat, Snow Music, Pictures from Our Vacation, and The Cardboard Piano. The author lives with her family in northern Michigan.

Lynne Rae Perkins was awarded the Newbery Medal for Criss Cross. She is also the author of the novel All Alone in the Universe, the award-winning companion to Criss Cross. An artist as well as a writer, Lynne Rae Perkins has published several acclaimed picture books, including The Broken Cat, Snow Music, Pictures from Our Vacation, and The Cardboard Piano. The author lives with her family in northern Michigan.

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