Houghton Mifflin Invitations to Literature: Readers Paperback Level 4 Yang Youngest

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Everyone in the Yang family is a talented musician except for nine-year-old Yingtao, the youngest Yang. Even after years of violin lessons from his father, Yingtao cannot make beautiful music.

Now that his family has moved from China to Seattle, Yingtao wants to learn English and make new friends at school. Still, he must make time to practice his violin for an important family recital to help his father get more students. Yingtao is afraid ...
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Overview

Everyone in the Yang family is a talented musician except for nine-year-old Yingtao, the youngest Yang. Even after years of violin lessons from his father, Yingtao cannot make beautiful music.

Now that his family has moved from China to Seattle, Yingtao wants to learn English and make new friends at school. Still, he must make time to practice his violin for an important family recital to help his father get more students. Yingtao is afraid his screeching violin will ruin the recital. But he's even more afraid to tell his family that he has found something he likes better than music.

Together he and his new friend Matthew think of a sure way to save the recital. They are certain nothing will go wrong.

Recently arrived in Seattle from China, musically untalented Yingtao is faced with giving a violin performance to attract new students for his father when he would rather be working on friendships and playing baseball.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Newly transplanted to Seattle from his native China, nine-year-old Yingtao is a tone-deaf thorn among musical roses. His parents--professional musicians both--assume the problem is lack of practice and chide him for playing baseball (he's a natural) when he could be rehearsing with his virtuoso siblings for an upcoming family recital. When Yingtao hooks up with a new friend from school, a boy as talented musically as Yingtao is athletically and whose parents have put him in an opposite predicament--the boys scheme a ``lip-syncing'' violin switch for the recital quartet that finally opens the eyes of both families. Peppered with wry commentary on the often baffling experience of adapting to a new country and a new language, Beijing-born Namioka's fresh and funny novel serves up a slice of modern, multicultural American life. Her comic timing and deadpan delivery are reminiscent of Betsy Byars, and her book will leave readers begging for more. Dekiefte's keenly observed black-and-white sketches evoke a maximum of expression with a minimum of intrusion. illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 8-12. (May)
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-- Poor Yang Yingtao. From the moment he was born, nine years ago in China, his parents expected him to be as talented as his siblings and complete the family string quartet. The trouble is, he's tone deaf, but his family won't believe it. He knows he will let them down at the upcoming recital for his father's music students, when the string quartet is supposed to play a grand finale, impressing the audience with Father's skill as a teacher. The stakes are high. Yingtao's family has recently immigrated to America and his father, who plays violin for the Seattle Symphony, desperately needs more students to augment their meager income. Yingtao's friendship with curly haired Matthew eventually saves the day. Matthew's family regards his love of the violin with suspicion, wishing he would work harder at baseball. Joining Matthew at practice, Yingtao discovers he's a natural athlete. Namioka uses their growing friendship to explore cultural differences and the problems of adjustment to a new society with a light but sure touch. Warm, humorous black-and-white sketches illuminate each character with casual, but astute, perception. Simpler and less incisive than Bette Bao Lord's In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson (HarperCollins, 1984), which is set in an earlier era, this multicultural music and sports story will have a broad appeal for young readers. --Margaret A. Chang, North Adams State College, MA
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