Sweet Notes, Sour Notes

Sweet Notes, Sour Notes

by Nancy Smiler Levinson, Beth Peck

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
When Zayde, David's grandfather, takes David to hear the great concert artist Mischa Elman, the fourth-grader is entranced and declares, ``I want to make the violin sing too.'' His parents are skeptical, believing his surge of interest to be yet another of David's short-lived enthusiasms, while sister Rose snickers. David persists and, with Zayde's help, a violin is rented and a teacher found. Daunted by the difficulty of learning (and by the emotive Madame Markov), David briefly considers giving up. This invitingly atmospheric vignette effectively captures a prewar urban ambience and, more particularly, the quiet warmth of a closely knit first-generation Jewish family. Peck's softly evocative pencil sketches expand on the reassuringly cozy proceedings of the steady narrative. Levinson's novel, believable and genuinely beguiling, should find a place alongside those of Riki Levinson and Sydney Taylor. Ages 7-10. (July)
Emily Melton
David, a young Jewish boy, is taken by his grandfather to hear famous violinist Mischa Elman. From then on, David is determined to play the violin and make wonderful music, just like the great Elman. Though David's parents don't think he's serious, they rent a violin and send him to music lessons. It's hard work, and learning scales is boring. David's afraid he'll never be able to play like his idol. Sometimes he thinks he'd rather shoot marbles or throw a football with his friends than spend time practicing. And, his sister Rose teases him unmercifully about his "screeching." But David persists and even learns to play "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" as his first "real" piece. When his grandfather falls ill, David plays the song for him to make him feel better. Levinson combines memories of her own childhood, a love for music, and a pleasant writing style to produce a heartwarming and enjoyable story. Youngsters will identify with David, who wants to play and have fun just like all children his age, but who's ambitious, too. The lessons he learns about persistence, talent, hard work, and love are important, and Levinson manages to get the message across without sounding too preachy. Peck's simple but evocative illustrations are a nice addition.

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Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st ed
Product dimensions:
6.34(w) x 9.32(h) x 0.45(d)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

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