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|Song of Middle C|
Author: McGhee, Alison
Every child who has felt the pressure of the spotlight will smile at this comical tale of bravado that turns a one-note performance into an improvisation worthy of a standing ovation.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 2.40
Points: .5 Quiz: 130205
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: K-2
Reading Level: 2.40
Points: 1.0 Quiz: 47583
Bulletin for the Center... - 07/01/2009 “Hoo boy, have I been practicing!” the young narrator, a budding pianist, assures her listeners. She’s pounded those ivories into submission, and she knows her rendition of “Dance of the Wood Elves” is definitely recital ready. It can’t hurt to take a few extra precautions, however, and so on the big day she dons her lucky hat, lucky shoes, and lucky underwear, practices her bows, and passionately asserts her sense of calm: “Am I nervous? Hoo boy, no! Not one tiny bit.” When her turn to perform comes around, though, brain freeze paralyzes her fingers, which she can’t manage to dislodge from middle C. This is the moment that separates the duffer from the true artiste, however: she plays that C for all she’s worth and brings down an appreciative (sympathetic?) house with her great imagination and improvisational skill. There’s rueful humor in her plight, and readers will find relief in her creative rising to the stressful situation. Menchin’s cleanly outlined, wide-eyed heroine conveys her emotions broadly enough for youngsters to understand that her brave words don’t always match her trembly insides, and although the digitized artwork is a bit stiff, the tensed bodies actually enhance the tense situation. Pair this with Bang-Campbell’s Little Rat Makes Music (BCCB 8/07) for a reassuring look at performance jitters. EB - Copyright 2009 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 08/01/2009 K-Gr 3— A young musician describes the week leading up to her first piano recital: "Hoo boy, have I been practicing!" She has memorized her piece, "Dance of the Wood Elves," and plays it over and over, using her imagination to add to her "musical interpretation" (a humorous spread shows a woodland scene with the girl playing as elves cavort across the top of the piano). On the big day, she wears her lucky underwear and rehearses taking a bow in front of her stuffed animals. She's all confidence in the car even as her big brother taunts her, and remains "cool as a cucumber" backstage, but when it's her turn she freezes up ("Fingers? Hello?"). Placing her hands in starting position, she accidentally puts her thumb on middle C and inspiration hits: she plays this note repeatedly—like thunder, like wind, and finally like "tiny wood elves who have lost their lucky underwear"—to the great surprise and admiration of the audience. Drawn with pen and ink and colored digitally, the cartoon artwork merrily depicts the action while illustrating the young maestro's funny flights of fancy. Sharp lines, clean layouts, and clever details add to the fun. The first-person narrative strikes just the right note, revealing feelings and concerns that will be familiar to any child who has ever been in a performance situation.—Joy Fleishhacker , School Library Journal - Copyright 2009 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.