Catalogue


The harmonica /
Tony Johnston ; illustrated by Ron Mazellan.
imprint
Watertown, MA : Charlesbridge, c2004.
description
1 v. (unpaged) : col. ill. ; 29 cm.
ISBN
1570915474 (lib. bdg.)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
added author
imprint
Watertown, MA : Charlesbridge, c2004.
isbn
1570915474 (lib. bdg.)
abstract
Separated from his parents in Poland during World War II, a young Jewish boy enslaved in a concentration camp, keeps hope alive while playing Schubert on his harmonica whenever the camp's commandant orders him to play.
catalogue key
5861111
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
New York State Charlotte Award, USA, 2006 : Nominated
New York State Charlotte Award, USA, 2008 : Nominated
Young Hoosier Book Award, USA, 2007 : Nominated
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2004-01-26:
Set in WWII Poland and inspired by a true story of a Jewish family, Johnston's (Uncle Rain Cloud) stirring tale opens on a wistful note: "I cannot remember/ my father's face,/ or my mother's,/ but I remember their love,/ warm and enfolding/ as a song." Mazellan's lifelike, earth-toned mixed-media paintings reveal a boy and his parents, first huddled together over a book, then singing together, then listening to the music of Schubert coming from a neighbor's gramophone. When his father returns from his job in a coal mine with a harmonica and gives it to the boy, his son practices on it until he can play Schubert. Meanwhile, "Somewhere outside, a war/ was raging. But it was far away-/ a bad dream-leaving us untouched." But not for long. The tenor of the narrative changes abruptly as Mazellan depicts Nazi soldiers banging on the door; the family is separated and the boy is sent to a concentration camp. When the commandant insists the lad play his harmonica for him each night, the boy cannot imagine how someone so cruel could appreciate the beauty of Schubert's music and is disgusted to perform it for him. But he finds solace in the realization that his playing also reaches his fellow prisoners, "who might hear the notes/ and be lifted, like flights/ of birds." The illustrator makes an affecting children's book debut, choosing images that communicate the story's pathos while sparing the audience many of the setting's horrors. Ages 6-11. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Booklist, January 2004
Publishers Weekly, January 2004
School Library Journal, May 2004
Horn Book Guide, October 2004
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Unpaid Annotation
A young boy's world is shattered after his family is torn apart by the brutal Nazi regime. Only his father's gift of a harmonica brings him comfort and ensures his survival. Inspired by the life of a Holocaust survivor.
Short Annotation
Torn from his home and parents in Poland during World War II, a young Jewish boy starving in a concentration camp finds hope in playing Schubert on his harmonica, even when the commandant orders him to play.
Library of Congress Summary
Separated from his parents in Poland during World War II, a young Jewish boy enslaved in a concentration camp, keeps hope alive while playing Schubert on his harmonica whenever the camp's commandant orders him to play.
Main Description
When the Nazis invaded Poland, a family is split apart. The parents are sent to one concentration camp, their son to another. Only his father's gift, a harmonica, keeps the boy's hopes alive and, miraculously, ensures his survival. Tony Johnston's powerf

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