Review Blog

Jun 09 2009

A certain music by Celeste Walters

cover image

Random House, 2009
ISBN 978174166333 4
(Age 7-10) Recommended. A gentle story set in the Vienna Woods of a loner and lonely child (who is always called 'child' or 'Liebling'), who is enchanted with Beethoven's music and finds unexpected joy and happiness in listening to the man seated at the piano playing the most beautiful music she has ever heard.  The plot is simple, but the richness of the descriptions of the surrounding woods, cottages and market place make the story come alive. It's an unusual way to introduce young readers to the joy of classical music and in particular Ode to Joy, but the reader is drawn to the sympathetic portrayal of the child, her Mutti, Beethoven and later her Father. Anne Spudvilas' black and white illustrations add another dimension to the simple charm of the book. It's a tragic story of a father who likes to drink and eventually finds work in the army and a Mother who coughs up blood.  But the overwhelming feeling belongs to the child who is sweet and caring and understands the worries of a brilliant composer. The end is quite special.
The font is close. Sensitive readers will enjoy this short story (121pp).
Recommended for Middle Primary, especially girls.
Sue Nosworthy

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