The Piano

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Tia loves music. She walks the summer streets searching for new sounds and different kinds of music that will transport her from the hot, dry town where she lives to imaginary places filled with castles, mountains, and deep snow.

One day, Tia wanders into the white section of town. Soon she is transfixed by a wonderful melody that drifts towards her from one of the houses. Without thinking, Tia accepts a maid's job from Miss Hartwell, the woman...

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Overview

Tia loves music. She walks the summer streets searching for new sounds and different kinds of music that will transport her from the hot, dry town where she lives to imaginary places filled with castles, mountains, and deep snow.

One day, Tia wanders into the white section of town. Soon she is transfixed by a wonderful melody that drifts towards her from one of the houses. Without thinking, Tia accepts a maid's job from Miss Hartwell, the woman who lives there, just so she can hear more of the music.

The Piano is an uplifting story of caring, friendship, and the connections that can develop between people, no matter how different their ages and backgrounds.

A young black girl's love of music leads her to a job in the home of an older white woman who not only teaches her to play the piano but also about caring for others.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
William Miller writes movingly about one child and her love of music, which leads her to work for an elderly, white woman who owns a piano. The Piano demonstrates that a shared passion can bring together people of different ages, different backgrounds, and different races. Susan Keeter's oil paintings convey well the deep South of the early 1900s and the blossoming friendship between the girl and the woman who becomes her piano teacher. 2000, Lee and Low, $15.95. Ages 4 to 9. Reviewer: Mary Quattlebaum
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-At the beginning of the 20th century, young Tia enjoys roaming free in her safe African-American section of a small Southern community. When she wanders into the white section of town, she is enchanted by a new and beautiful sound coming from a large mansion. Thinking that she has come for a maid's job, a young handyman invites the girl in and introduces her to Miss Hartwell, the elderly resident. Smitten by the music, Tia agrees to take the job and is awed by the shiny grand piano in the parlor. The two become fond of one another and Miss Hartwell agrees to teach the girl to play. Tia soothes Miss Hartwell's arthritic fingers using a remedy learned at home, and the woman returns the favor when Tia's hands become sore from heavy work. The bond between the two is developed naturally and never seems forced or out of place. The oil paintings reinforce the mood of the story. The street scenes and the typically furnished wealthy home of the period are depicted in detail. The characters are brought to life and Tia's warm, open innocence is evident in the expressive artwork. This is a gentle story depicting a friendship that crosses age and racial barriers.-Marlene Gawron, Orange County Library, Orlando, FL Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Kirkus Reviews
In this gentle story set in the early 1900s, music brings a young African-American girl and an elderly white woman together. Tia searches for the sounds of music as she wanders the streets of her southern town during the summer while her parents work. One day, in the white section of town she hears a recording that transports her to a place of castles and snow. She meets Johnny, who mistakenly thinks she has come about a maid's job. Tia agrees to meet the woman of the house, who is willing to hire the young girl. Tia works hard and shows interest in learning to play the piano. Miss Hartwell, despite her stiff hands, begins to teach her. Miller (Night Golf, 1999, etc.) lightly touches on segregation and contrasts Tia's caring attitude toward Miss Hartwell to Johnny's—"All white people's money is the same. I don't care which I get it from"—but the story emphasizes a relationship that transcends age and class. Keeter's oil paintings enhance the gentle mood. Two-page spreads make space for the pictures to illustrate the text and expand the setting. A scene showing Tia dancing to the music of a blues guitar in front of a general store also gives a picture of the poor part of town. Interior scenes of Miss Hartwell's house give a sense of a well-to-do residence, while close ups of Tia and Miss Hartwell show the growing love between the two. A lovely book with an understated message. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781880000984
  • Publisher: Lee & Low Books, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/28/2000
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 440L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.61 (w) x 10.59 (h) x 0.41 (d)

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