|Violin for Elva|
Author: Ray, Mary Lyn
As a child, Elva asks for a violin so that she can make beautiful music but many years pass before her dream can come true.
Kirkus Reviews (11/01/14)
School Library Journal (12/01/14)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (03/15)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 11/01/2014 One is never too old to realize a dream. As a young child, Elva overhears violin music at a garden party, and it stirs a desire in her to make beautiful music. Her parents say no to a violin of her own, so she pretends to play, becoming the violin virtuoso she longs to be, until she grows up and her aspirations begin to dim. Her latent yearning briefly surfaces throughout her life whenever she hears music, but it isn’t until she is an old woman that she finally decides to, literally, take matters into her own hands. Older readers and adults may take away more from this ultimately joyful story than young children, but the theme is an important one for all ages: it is up to you to make your dreams come true. Charming, softly-colored watercolor-and-ink illustrations follow a dreamy Elva growing up, moving away, and keeping busy with her career. However, it is when she finally learns to make her own music that she finds total contentment. An endearing tale of an ambition fulfilled. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 12/01/2014 Gr 1–3—As a young girl, Elva yearns for a violin. She pretends to play, improvising with a tennis racket and a tree branch. She rehearses for imaginary recitals with a toothbrush in front of the bathroom mirror. At school, she enlivens blackboard math lessons with treble clefs and musical notation. Elva never outgrows her love for the instrument, and as an adult she wistfully "[keeps] imagining what might have been." In her later years, after a lifetime of longing, she buys herself a violin. Tusa's delicate watercolor and ink illustrations show the woman on a busy city sidewalk, clutching her new instrument in a joyful embrace, as the sunshine casts a spotlight on her. With practice, patience, and perseverance, Elva learns to create sweet music. This charming book artfully and evocatively explores the joy that comes from following your dreams.—Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 03/01/2015 When little Elva overhears a violinist playing at a local garden party, she is smitten. Since her parents refuse her request for a violin of her own, Elva pretends to play, using a badminton racquet or a toothbrush and her imagination. Elva eventually grows up, and she gives up even her pretend violin and makes excuses to herself about not following her dream (“Well, I have things to do”; “I’m too old now”). Her dream doesn’t die, though, and one day, now gray-haired Elva buys a violin, signs up for lessons, and finally, happily, plays at her very first recital. Adults may get more out of this than kids, but the lessons of persistence and the importance of pursuing one’s dreams are communicated in a pleasantly realistic and non-preachy way (Elva needs lessons and practice to play, for instance), and many kids will find the ending satisfying. The text’s gentle momentum and understated lyricism (“But if she saw a page tremulous with music, she remembered what she had once wanted”) make it a fine choice for a readaloud selection. Tusa’s dynamic watercolor and ink illustrations are both elegant and casual, and they provide some grounding for the quietly melodious text, with Elva’s childhood outfits and the record player of her older adulthood suggesting an earlier era. Careful compositions convey both energy and contemplation, and one can almost hear the heavenly choir at the scene of the long-awaited violin acquisition, as elderly Elva hugs her instrument in a beam of white light. Share this one aloud, perhaps accompanied by some violin music. JH - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.