Gr 1-3-Despite Archie's protestations, his mother buys a piano and signs him up for lessons. He complains but likes his teacher, practices unhappily but gradually begins to take some pleasure in his progress. When school starts he wants to stop, but then his teacher asks him to play at a Christmas concert. Archie decides to continue-he's going to be a star. The theme is worthy enough, but the execution is unsuccessful. While it is true that young music students have to practice every day, they do not have to give up their whole lives. Poor Archie can't play with his friend or go swimming because he has to practice-he doesn't seem to be allowed to do anything else. It is also highly unlikely that he'd be ready to play in a concert with others so soon. The realistic illustrations are carefully done in full color. The facial expressions portray emotion, and even the dog has personality. The text is to the point and moves along quickly with lots of dialogue, but the story, unfortunately, is more likely to put off than to turn on prospective musicians.-Martha Gordon, South Salem Library, NY
This companion to "My Mom Made Me Go to Camp" and "My Mom Made Me Go to School" (both 1993) addresses another childhood dilemma--unwanted music lessons. When a new piano teacher moves to town, Archie's Mom decides he should learn to play. Though Archie is adamantly opposed (he fears lessons will cut into his baseball and bicycle-riding time), Mom signs him up anyway. Worse yet, his blue-haired, gold-braceleted teacher, Mrs. Stodge, actually expects him to practice "every" day. With encouragement, practice, and a fondness for Mrs. Stodge's lemonade and her chocolate-chip cookies, Archie finds his resistance subsiding, until finally, when Mom offers to let him stop the lessons (to ensure more time for homework), he enthusiastically begs to continue. McCue's expressive, full-color artwork conveys every nuance of Archie's emotions. Although not every child will develop Archie's love of music, Delton approaches the problem with realism and good humor. A good choice for the parenting shelf.