Song of Middle C

Overview

From the duo of Alison McGhee and Scott Menchin comes a hilarious tale of a first recital — and a charming ode to chutzpah and creative flair.

Practice makes perfect. And for a little girl facing her first recital of "Dance of the Wood Elves," so do artistry, imagination (those wood elves sure love to dance!), and lucky underwear for good measure. Is she nervous as she waits and waits for her turn on stage? Hoo boy, no! She’s as cool as a cucumber! Every child who has felt the ...

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Overview

From the duo of Alison McGhee and Scott Menchin comes a hilarious tale of a first recital — and a charming ode to chutzpah and creative flair.

Practice makes perfect. And for a little girl facing her first recital of "Dance of the Wood Elves," so do artistry, imagination (those wood elves sure love to dance!), and lucky underwear for good measure. Is she nervous as she waits and waits for her turn on stage? Hoo boy, no! She’s as cool as a cucumber! Every child who has felt the pressure of the spotlight will smile at this comical tale of bravado that turns a onenote performance into an improvisation worthy of a standing ovation. Splendissimo!

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Debra Lampert-Rudman
"True artistry requires great imagination." so says piano teacher, Miss Kari, in Alison McGhee's delightful tribute to a young girl's first piano recital. Even if your fingers freeze and you completely forget your recital piece, lucky hat, lucky shoes, and lucky underwear may help you stay "cool as a cucumber" and be an "improvisational genius" if you use your imagination. Scott Menchin uses his trademarked large-headed, wide-eyed characters to fine effect in this charming picture book. Song of Middle C will ring true with any young reader who has ever lived through his or her first fearful moment in the spotlight; and may even encourage those who have not done so, yet. Reviewer: Debra Lampert-Rudman
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—A young musician describes the week leading up to her first piano recital: "Hoo boy, have I been practicing!" She has memorized her piece, "Dance of the Wood Elves," and plays it over and over, using her imagination to add to her "musical interpretation" (a humorous spread shows a woodland scene with the girl playing as elves cavort across the top of the piano). On the big day, she wears her lucky underwear and rehearses taking a bow in front of her stuffed animals. She's all confidence in the car even as her big brother taunts her, and remains "cool as a cucumber" backstage, but when it's her turn she freezes up ("Fingers? Hello?"). Placing her hands in starting position, she accidentally puts her thumb on middle C and inspiration hits: she plays this note repeatedly—like thunder, like wind, and finally like "tiny wood elves who have lost their lucky underwear"—to the great surprise and admiration of the audience. Drawn with pen and ink and colored digitally, the cartoon artwork merrily depicts the action while illustrating the young maestro's funny flights of fancy. Sharp lines, clean layouts, and clever details add to the fun. The first-person narrative strikes just the right note, revealing feelings and concerns that will be familiar to any child who has ever been in a performance situation.—Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
How to turn a recital disaster into a triumph? One little girl uses imagination, bravado and her lucky underwear to overcome a colossal case of stage fright. She has practiced "Dance of the Wood Elves" diligently and has wonderful support from her piano teacher and her parents, if not her big brother. When she steps confidently onto the stage, however, she totally forgets everything she rehearsed. But this little girl is nothing if not plucky and inventive. The only note she can manage is Middle C, so she plays it in several different ways with gusto, verve and true artistry, earning great applause. McGhee never allows an iota of self-pity or frustration to dampen her heroine's good humor, and she employs a first-person narration to tell the story in direct, vivid, fast-paced colloquial language. Menchin's digitally colored pen-and-ink cartoons are remarkably detailed while appearing deceptively simple and childlike. They convey all the emotions and actions and lovingly complement the text. As her dad would say, Splendissimo. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763630133
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 5/12/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 608,417
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 410L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 10.40 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Alison McGhee is the award-winning author of picture books, poems, and novels for all ages, including the young adult novel ALL RIVERS FLOW TO THE SEA and the #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestseller SOMEDAY, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. Alison McGhee lives in Minnesota.

Scott Menchin is the author-illustrator of TAKING A BATH WITH THE DOG AND OTHER THINGS THAT MAKE ME, which received the Christopher Award. He also illustrated BOUNCE AND WIGGLE, both by Doreen Cronin, and MAN GAVE NAMES TO ALL THE ANIMALS, an award-winning children’s book based on a hit song by Bob Dylan. He lives in New York City.

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