Cassie Loves Beethoven

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When Hallie and David decide they want a pet cow, their father reluctantly agrees. After all, the children have promised to take care of it, and it will be an educational experience for everybody. But as the family brings their new pet home to their farm, they can't even begin to imagine how educational the experience of living with Cassie will turn out to be. The cow won't produce milk, and the kids try everything. And then they hit upon the solution: Beethoven. Not only does Cassie begin to produce milk, but ...
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Overview

When Hallie and David decide they want a pet cow, their father reluctantly agrees. After all, the children have promised to take care of it, and it will be an educational experience for everybody. But as the family brings their new pet home to their farm, they can't even begin to imagine how educational the experience of living with Cassie will turn out to be. The cow won't produce milk, and the kids try everything. And then they hit upon the solution: Beethoven. Not only does Cassie begin to produce milk, but she develops an insatiable fascination for music and, well, she talks. But Cassie's love for music may get her in trouble when she decides to become a concert pianist. This wonderful story from renowned actor and author Alan Arkin explores the unique dynamics that make up every family, the small triumphs that flavor life, and the enduring beauty and appeal of music.

Author Biography: Alan Arkin is an actor, film director, and producer. Nominated for a best-actor Oscar for his work in The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter and The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming!, he has most recently appeared in Slums of Beverly Hills, Grosse Pointe Blank, and Gattaca. He is also the author of several children's books, including The Lemming Condition and One Present from Flekman's, illustrated by Richard Egielski.

Relates the startling effects of Beethoven's music on the Kennedys' new cow.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
At least some of actor, director and sometime composer Arkin's (The Lemming Condition) multiple credits seem to converge in this quirky tale of one quite dramatic and eccentric Guernsey cow, Cassie. In an attempt to encourage her to give milk, siblings David and Hallie Kennedy place a radio playing classical music in her shed. When she hears Beethoven's Sixth Symphony (the Pastoral Symphony), the animal suddenly begins to talk, announcing that the music "made me happier than I thought possible in this life. It's brought me to places that I didn't know existed." And after attending a symphony concert, Cassie is no longer content to listen to Beethoven's music--she is determined to play it. Her rather unwieldy hooves get in the way, however, until the children's father fashions a 30-foot-long musical keyboard. On this the cow learns to play a rondo by Beethoven, which she then performs with both a high school and a symphony orchestra. Arkin injects some funny snippets ("A good beginning.... She's got a very light touch for a cow," announces Cassie's first piano teacher), yet the single-gag story line sags midway through the often wordy narrative. Ages 8-12. (Nov.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Music supposedly soothes the savage beast. When their new cow, Cassie, won't milk, David and Hallie put a radio in the barn. Cassie listens to all types of music that seem to stimulate her milk production. But it is Beethoven who thrills Cassie, especially his "Pastoral Symphony." (This cow's got taste.) The kids know this because Cassie can talk. Well, this is a fantasy. Cassie is not only in love with Beethoven's music, she is convinced she must hear it performed live. Imagine the hilarious scenes when the family tries to sneak her into a concert hall. The ultimate challenge comes when Cassie insists she must play Beethoven. What instrument? Cassie Loves Beethoven is pure fun, but its main theme is about music's power to inspire and thrill its listeners. What an opportunity to introduce Beethoven. Milk it for all its worth! 2000, Hyperion, $17.49 and $16.99. Ages 8 to 11. Reviewer: Jan Lieberman
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-Arkin skillfully weaves information about music into his story through the creation of an interesting protagonist. Choosing a cow for a pet is unusual, but for Hallie and David, it's only the first in a string of events that leads them and their father on the strangest adventure of their lives. It turns out that Cassie is no ordinary cow: not only can she talk, but she also passionately loves Beethoven's music. Her obsession with the composer creates discontent and longing and causes the family to create a huge keyboard for her, which eventually leads her to the stage. However oddly fantastic the plot, it only occasionally gets bogged down in narrative, and the message about the power of music shines through. Cassie muses after repeatedly listening to Beethoven's Sixth Symphony: "How does he [Beethoven] know these things?-How does he feel so much? And then once he feels these things, how does he make us feel along with him? How does he make sound tell us about open fields and green grass and hills and trees and streams and thunder and lightning?" Young music lovers will appreciate this novel, as will those who enjoy a good story with a humorous twist, but in either case, it will benefit from an enthusiastic booktalk.-Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786805648
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 11/28/2000
  • Pages: 176
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 630L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.75 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2005

    This was a pretty good book!

    I really liked the book because it had a lot of different music instruments that were cool to learn about. I also thought it was very funny!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2005

    Share this with your kids!

    I just finished reading this aloud to my 4 children, ages 5-9. Although yes, there are some wordy passages, and I had to explain a few words for the younger ones, they ALL laughed aloud at various parts. If you have (or can borrow) some of Beethoven's music, let them hear it, too! The great thing about this book is that we ALL enjoyed it. Boys and girls alike begged for more!

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