I'll admit, though, that I approach certain "types" of picture books with a wary eye and anticipate disappointment.
A case in point: picture books in which a child character grows to adulthood (and some mature insights or convenient answers) within those few colorful pages.
I'm popping in for this short post to recommend a recent release that takes on the challenge of aging a character without losing real story excellence and comes out a winner.
|Harcourt Brace and Company, January, 2015|
And that winner is: A VIOLIN FOR ELVA, by Mary Lyn Ray, illustrated by Tricia Tusa.
The synopsis from Indiebound says:
"A young girl longs to play the violin in this lyrical story that shows it's never too late to pursue your dream. More than anything, Elva wants a violin--but her parents say no. So she pretends. When she should be brushing her teeth, Elva rehearses for recitals. When she should be learning subtraction or going to sleep, she imagines playing all the music in the world. The years pass, but Elva never forgets her childhood wish, and so one day she takes a deep breath and follows her heart . . ."
Here's what I had to say about it on GOODREADS:
|This is the rarest of rare picture books- one that features a child growing into adulthood yet retaining appeal and eliciting empathy from even the youngest child. Elva's yearnings for music, and for learning/playing the violin in particular, are a metaphor for any unfulfilled personal passion. What might have been a maudlin or adult-centric "don't wait too late" life lesson is told with graceful prose, rhythmic repetitions, and a strong sense of seasons and time (think a kid-friendly version of "Turn-Turn-Turn"). That text combines perfectly with illustrator Tricia Tusa's childlike take on adulthood, including simple-lined identifiable facial expressions, body postures, and winning details. When Elva is finally making music on a double page spread, her feet, in white anklets, come right out of her Mary Jane shoes in an ecstasy of ageless bliss. Readers of any age will celebrate her dream-come-true moment.|