Review Blog

May 29 2009

A Certain Music by Celeste Walters Illustrated by Anne Spudvilas

cover image

Woolshed Press, 2009, ISBN 978 1 74166 333 4
(Ages 10+) Celeste Walters writes a magical story of music and enchantment set in Vienna in 1823.
She tells of the simple wishes of a young girl who becomes entranced by a man she sees in the Vienna Woods and the music she hears him playing.School is difficult for her.Others call her odd and her parents despair that she makes no friends.Yet this man and his music fascinate her - she wants to listen to his music and share the distraction and frustration that she observes in him as he composes.The developing friendship reveals how alike these two really are. Perhaps she can help him in some way. The time comes when the composer must leave the town, but not before the young girl and her mother have the opportunity to go to a concert where the maestro is conducting his music. What a wonderful night that is for both of them. The gift of music is given again to the girl when, some years on, a scroll is delivered to her. It is the music for 'Fur Elise' and it is signed by Ludwig van Beethoven.
The story is beautifully told, given just a touch of mystery by not naming the two characters until the very end.
Anne Spudvilas' fine illustrations are added throughout the text, and her cover work shows the delight that music truly brings. It is an oversight that Walters has not provided any background, contextual information about the composer and his music for the young, potentially engaged reader.
Julie Wells
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