CM . . .
. Volume IX Number 21 . . . . June 20, 2003
Gramma is moving to a small apartment and must sell her piano. Clee and her younger brother, Simon, are a little upset about Gramma’s move for they have many happy memories of times spent at the big, old house, especially of Christmases filled with wonderful cooking, good company and lively music. When a critical and grumpy prospective buyer comes to looks at the piano, he finds fault with the instrument. Its keys are chipped; there is a deep scratch along one side; and he fears that it might not hold a tune. After playing a few songs, Gramma decides not to sell it after all, for, despite the piano’s condition, it links Gramma to her past and to her grandchildren through their shared love of music. Christmas morning finds the piano beside the Christmas tree in Clee’s and Simon’s home. It will be a treasured gift for many years to come.
In this book, one of four in the season series featuring Clee, the book’s theme deals with the inevitable changes that occur in people’s lives and how people adapt to those changes. New traditions are begun, and yet there is always a strong link to the past. Zagwÿn tells this intergenerational story with tenderness. Her illustrations, rendered in watercolours, are attractive and eye-catching. A brightly coloured ribbon, representing the ribbon of sound that ties the children to their grandmother, appears on each page, but, like songs, no two ribbons are alike. Sometimes, the ribbons surround the page, and sometimes they are wound around an object or crisscross the page. One exception is the illustration in which the prospective buyer is about to purchase the piano. In this illustration, the ribbon is cut in pieces, suggesting that the link will be broken should the piano be sold.
A heartwarming family story.
Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian at Bird’s Hill School in East St. Paul, MB.