Review Blog

Jun 29 2011

Song of the Dove by Errol Broome

cover image

Ill. by Sonia Kretschmar. Walker, 2011. ISBN: 978 1921529245.
Bellini, the young music student, takes as his pupil the beautiful Maddalena Fumaroli. As their lessons together continue, they develop a deep bond and fall in love. Walking the cobbled streets of Naples, the couple spy two doves which they agree are always together and remain so for life. When Bellini asks for Maddalena's hand in marriage, her horrified parents refuse and send the young man away. Meeting secretly, Bellini promises that, when he has completed his tenth opera, he shall return and they shall be together, 'dead or alive'. After being sent to Milan, the couple continues to write regularly. Finally, Maddalena's parents have a change of heart and agree to the marriage. Will they be together in life?
A simply and concisely written story with perfectly matched illustrations which add to the historic perspective of the tale, this book is a biography, telling of love, persistence and, despite the ending, resilience. If the book were to be used with a class, one could discuss determination and the problem of labeling or pre-judging people based on first appearances. Not a book which I believe will be eagerly devoured by young children; it nonetheless has its place in a classroom program.
Jo Schenkel

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