Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Review: Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin by Chieri Uegaki


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Hana has signed up to play the violin at the talent show, even though she's only had three lessons. Her brothers predict disaster. But Hana practices and practices, inspired by her grandfather, or Ojiichan, who played the violin every day when she visited him in Japan. As Hana takes the stage, doubt is all she can hear, until she recalls her grandfather's words of encouragement, and shows the audience how beautiful music can take many forms.
MY TAKE:
This is one of the most beautiful books I've read in awhile.

In Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin, Hana is a young girl who signs up to play the violin at her school's talent show, despite the fact the she just started playing the violin. Her brothers don't believe she can do it, but she practices as hard as she can before the talent show. When the time comes, will her performance be as good as she dreams it will be?

The combination of the illustrations and the prose had a bittersweet, whimsical quality that reminded me a little bit of Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle. The ending of this book is a very happy one, though. I think it was mostly the style of the illustration, which reminded me of old-school Japanese anime cartoons I used to watch when I was a kid, as well as the imagery of the prose that made me feel that way.

Some of the words may be a little too advanced for younger children, and the length of the text on each page may seem a little long as well, but if an adult were to read it aloud to younger kids and explain the more complex words, even kids who have a more limited vocabulary may be able to appreciate this.

Thanks to NetGalley and Kids Can Press for the e-ARC. Publication date of Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin is on August 1, 2014.

THE GOOD:

  1. The illustrations are reminiscent of old-school Japanese anime cartoons, but with sharper colors.
  2. The prose is beautiful.
  3. It teaches the importance of perseverance and believing in yourself.

THE BAD:

  1. Some of the words may be too advanced for younger children. 

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Ojiichan played every morning. From his study, the clear, bright notes would drift upstairs, through the shoji screen doors to where Hana slept on sweet-smelling tatami mats, and coax her awake as gently as sunshine. 
READ IT IF:

  1. Your child plays the violin.
  2. You or your child like whimsical books and movies.
  3. You like beautiful imagery. 

RATING:
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