The song for everyone by Lucy Morris

cover image

In the town the boy walks slowly to school, the old woman walks with hobbling steps to the shop for her goods, the cat searches for someone to love, but a song drifts out from a high window, wrapping everyone in its sounds: the boy suddenly has a spring in his step as he walks to school, the older woman no longer has to wrap herself with the shawl against the cold and walks more easily on her way, the cat rounds a corner and finds a family waiting just for him. The whole town is happy, people are speaking to each other, they care about each other, sharing a new found kindness and peace.

But one day the music stops. People looks up at the window waiting for it to resume, but it does not. People loose what skills they have developed, they become less communicative, even the flowers droop in the window boxes, people stay in bed, and everyone becomes grumpy. They hold a meeting and the boy climbs up on their shoulders to look in the window to see what is wrong. There he finds an exhausted wren.

He climbs inside and together he and the wren sing music for everyone.

This delightful story will resonate with younger children as they see the healing power of music. Music in the form of flowers litter each page, taking the eye across each page of wonderful illustrations, seeing what the music does to the town's people. Each grows with the music swirling around them, and when the music stops, they too become smaller, inward looking, unresponsive. That they work together to solve their problem is a lesson not lost on younger readers, as they cheer when the young lad reaches the window sill and peers inside. The community has solved its problem, by working as one.

I love Morris' illustrations, her people Lowry like in their simplicity. Her images of the music flowing over each page is continued on the end papers attracting young eyes to see what flowers they can pick out. I am sure an astute teacher or parent will be able to find some appropriate music to play while reading this book to an eager audience, initiating discussions about what makes them feel happy.

Themes: Mental health, Community, Friendship, Working together, Music.

Fran Knight