Nominee for the 2012 Silver Birch Express Award in the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading Program.
Jeremiah Birnbaum is stinking rich. He lives in a house with nine bathrooms, a games room, an exercise room, an indoor pool, a hot tub, a movie theater, a bowling alley and a tennis court. His parents, a former hotdog vendor and window cleaner who made it big in dental floss, make sure Jeremiah goes to the very best private school, and that he takes lessons in all the things he will need to know how to do as an accomplished and impressive young man: etiquette lessons, ballroom dancing, watercolor painting. And, of course, classical piano.
Jeremiah complies, because he wants to please his parents. But one day, by chance, he hears the captivating strains of a different kind of music -- the strums, plucks and rhythms of a banjo. It is music that stirs something in Jeremiah's dutiful little soul, and he is suddenly obsessed. And when his parents forbid him to play one, he decides to learn anyway -- even if he has to make the instrument himself.
This has the spirit and cheer of comic melodrama, its fun coming as much from Fagan's breezy asides as from the plot.
There is much that parents and their kids can share in the novel, a quality not easily found in books aimed at adolescents.
This is a touching and fresh story whose lightness and brevity will engage and empower young readers.
...warm and cheerful and would be welcomed by anyone with a musical bent...
...this sweet, quirky little book hits all the right notes. Highly recommended.
...[a] heartfelt novel...
...a low-key charmer.
... Fagan presents a sweet, quiet, and neatly packaged tale that emphasizes the importance of hard work and following your dreams in the face of adversity.
This bittersweet novel has just the right touch of wit and creativity to catch and keep the attention of young discerning readers. Thoroughly entwined into the novel is an unusual twist on the economics concept of wants versus needs that will encourage readers to think about what brings true happiness.