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John's Whistle
     

John's Whistle

by Lili Ferreiros, Sonja Wimmer (Illustrator), Jon Brokenbrow (Translator)
 

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Winner at the 2014 Living Now Book Awards

A tale full of tenderness that touches the heart, reminding us that music is the true language of the soul, and that our differences can be solved through good intentions and friendship.

Guided Reading Level: N, Lexile Level: 940L

Overview


Winner at the 2014 Living Now Book Awards

A tale full of tenderness that touches the heart, reminding us that music is the true language of the soul, and that our differences can be solved through good intentions and friendship.

Guided Reading Level: N, Lexile Level: 940L

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
02/01/2014
K-Gr 2—John is different from all the other children in his neighborhood. He has never learned to talk but whistles to communicate instead. John manages to get his ideas across by varying the kind of whistle he uses, much like a baby alters her cry for different needs. His parents and friends accept this unique talent. At school, John's classmates love to hear him whistle and imagine what he is saying with each tune. The boy's friend Taleb also doesn't speak much but draws very well and plays the bendir (a type of drum). They make joyous music together. The narrative becomes convoluted when the friends both fall for a classmate, Claire. The story veers off topic with the introduction of the little girl and the damage it does to the boys' relationship. John plays with her in the woods and utters his first word when he loses her in a game of hide-and-seek, which causes him to yell her name. The protagonist's ability is held up as something unique and wonderful, but he partially abandons it, leaving readers unsure of the book's message. The stylized art features paper-cut sheet music and large size figures, but the horizontal page orientation makes it a difficult work to manage in storytime. Overall, children won't be drawn to this innocuous tale.—Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Kirkus Reviews
2013-10-01
Although John communicates only by whistling, he finds acceptance at home, admiration and friendship at school, and true love. That seems to be what this sweet story is about, although at the end, when he thinks he's lost the girl who has caught his eye, he finds his voice--so perhaps it's a story of late blooming rather than genuine acceptance of differences. Wimmer's curving, elongated figures are accentuated by the design choice to make this nearly square book open vertically rather than horizontally, awkward to hold. This is another difference to accept. Collaged-in bits of musical scores weave among the figures, suggesting John's thoughts; when he speaks, the notes appear in speech bubbles. The slightly surreal art complements this allegorical tale, a wordy picture book for older readers. There is one jarring note, perhaps introduced in the translation from Spanish. John's friend Taleb, who communicates first through his art, because he doesn't yet speak the language of the country, "stop[s] drawing immediately" when John is angry about their having feelings for the same girl, though they remain friends. But more than a new translation of the words will be necessary for this love story to find an American audience. Charming but elusive. (Picture book. 8-10)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9788415784128
Publisher:
Cuento de Luz
Publication date:
11/01/2013
Edition description:
Translatio
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
9.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.30(d)
Lexile:
AD940L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author


Award-winning author Lili Ferreiros is a journalis and social sciences teacher born in Buenos Aires, who has had her worked published in her native country and abroad. She dedicates her work to children in books that focus on vulnerable chilhoods, sharing the discovery of beauty that explodes even in those places where darkness overpowers the light..

After several years studying and working as a designer in her hometown Munich and Brussels, Sonja Wimmer decided to devote herself to illustration and traveled to Barcelona to continue her artistic training at the Llotja School of Design Art. Since then, she lives between brushes and stories, working as an illustrator and freelance for publishers and other customers worldwide. She has received many awards for her work in the United states, most notably Gold Medal for Best Illustrator for The Word Collector.

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