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|Dancing hands : how Teresa Carreno played the piano for President Lincoln|
Author: Engle, Margarita
The story of Teresa Carreno, a child prodigy who played piano for Abraham Lincoln.
Kirkus Reviews (+) (06/01/19)
School Library Journal (08/01/19)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (00/07/19)
The Hornbook (00/09/19)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 06/01/2019 Engle and López pair up again to bring equality to the arts in this picture-book biography of pianist and composer Teresa Carreño. More detailed than their Pura Belpré Honor Book, Drum Dream Girl (2015), the lyrical, imagery-rich text alternates between prose and free verse as it describes Teresa’s early childhood in Venezuela in the mid-1800s. When a revolution tears through the country, the young prodigy and her family move to New York, where she feels like an oddity and where a civil war also wreaks havoc. Concerts around the world, however, spare the newly proclaimed “Piano Girl” from much of this pain. An invitation from the White House to play for the grieving President Lincoln and his family almost turns disastrous due to a poorly tuned piano, but Teresa’s perseverance saves the evening in the story’s climax. Patterned mixed-media illustrations use color to evoke the lushness of Venezuela, the darkness of war, and the beauty of music. Concluding with a historical note, the biography’s vibrant images and language form a melodious composition. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 08/01/2019 PreS-Gr 2—Teresa Carreño achieved global fame as a performer, composer, pianist, and opera singer. By the age of six, she was composing. At the age of seven, she began performing. Revolution in Venezuela forced the Carreño family to migrate to New York, an unfamiliar place where few people spoke Spanish and her family felt out of place. But war would follow them—in 1863 the United States was in the midst of the Civil War. At the age of 10, Carreño was invited to play for President Abraham Lincoln and his family at the White House. But will a poorly tuned piano diminish her performance? This is a story of overcoming fear and using one's talents to spark joy despite unforeseen obstacles. Author and illustrator are well paired in this interesting narrative. Darks and lights, whether representing world events or the colors of the piano keys, are recurring themes that Engle cleverly entwines in her at times poetic writing. López's illustrations practically leap from the page as they mirror the tone of events—bright and beautiful when the story is light; dark, drab, and gray when echoing conflict. A historical note in the back matter provides slightly more insight, but Engle's writing occasionally seems to take liberties with individual characters' thoughts and emotions with little supporting evidence. VERDICT Despite the efficacy of the author and illustrator collaboration, the historical facts remain somewhat sketchy throughout the narrative. A gentle title to add cultural insight to any collection, though possibly best for larger budgets.—Rebecca Gueorguiev, New York Public Library - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.