Two Scarlet Songbirds: A Story of Anton DvorákFall 2001 Picture Books
Ages: 5 - 9 yrs.
Author: Carole Lexa Schaefer
Illustrator: Elizabeth Rosen
Publisher: Random House Children's Books/Knopf
Hardcover Price: $16.95
Review:In the summer of 1893, Anton Dvorák, while on summer break from his directorship at the National Conservatory of Music in New York City, took a vacation to Spillville, Iowa, a farm community comprised largely of Czechoslovakian immigrants. In this slight story, based on this actual occurrence and the idea that the third movement of his String Quartet #12 in F major had its roots in the song of the Scarlet Tanager, Dvorák hears the bird's song and other sounds of the country and is inspired to compose. When he performs the new piece of music, the tanager quite likes hearing his song in the voice of another "scarlet songbird." The Matisse-y painted illustrations seem to flow along in swirls and swoops that surround the characters and the text. The translation of the tanager's song into words might be hard to read at first, but it is accurate and can be heard in the quartet. The story won't interest every reader, but for music lovers and musicians-to-be, this gentle narrative will be a favorite.
Tim Capehart ©2001 Parents' Choice
Tim Capehart, a Children's Librarian, has served on library staffs in Kentucky, Massachusetts and Ohio. TIm often reads books out loud to his two cats, who prefer picture books without dogs.
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