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9781554980864_cover Enlarge Cover
5 of 5
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list price: $9.95
edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover eBook
published: Mar 2011
ISBN:9781554980864

Banjo of Destiny

by Cary Fagan, illustrated by Selcuk Demirel

reviews: 2
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self-esteem & self-reliance, music
5 of 5
1 rating
rated!
rated!
list price: $9.95
edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover eBook
published: Mar 2011
ISBN:9781554980864
Description

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.

About the Authors

Cary Fagan

Author profile page >

Selcuk Demirel was born in Artvin, Turkey, in 1954. He moved to Paris in 1978 and still lives there. Visit Selcuk Demirel's website: http://www.selcuk-demirel.com/
Author profile page >
Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
Age:
0
Grade:
p to 12
Reading age:
0
Editorial Reviews

This has the spirit and cheer of comic melodrama, its fun coming as much from Fagan's breezy asides as from the plot.

— Toronto Star

There is much that parents and their kids can share in the novel, a quality not easily found in books aimed at adolescents.

— The Canadian Jewish News

This is a touching and fresh story whose lightness and brevity will engage and empower young readers.

— Canadian Children's Book News

...warm and cheerful and would be welcomed by anyone with a musical bent...

— Sal's Fiction Addiction

...this sweet, quirky little book hits all the right notes. Highly recommended.

— CM Magazine

...[a] heartfelt novel...

— Quill & Quire

...a low-key charmer.

— Kirkus Reviews

... 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.

— School Library Journal

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.

— Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children

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Reader Reviews

Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

Banjo of Destiny

Jeremiah yearns for a banjo but is forbidden to purchase such a humdrum instrument. Now vastly wealthy, his parents compensate for their impoverished origins by ensuring that Jeremiah is equipped with every skill necessary to hobnob in high society. This does not include the banjo! Gentle Jeremiah — his life “an expensive nightmare” — submits to endless boring piano, etiquette and dance lessons while his own aspirations go unfulfilled. In desperation, abetted by spirited Luella, Jeremiah circumvents his parents’ edict by secretly making, instead of purchasing, his banjo. When he becomes a skilled player, he finally wins the respect and understanding of his parents and peers.

Cary Fagan, author of several critically acclaimed, awardwinning books, has written another endearing title for children. In Jeremiah and Luella, he has created likeable, credible characters that leave a lasting impression. Children will relate to Jeremiah, who is picked last for sports teams, who botches his piano recital on talent night and who has little self-esteem. Feisty, talented Luella is his antithesis but they are best friends. Details of how Jeremiah builds his banjo add an intriguing, original dimension and Fagan’s own love of the instrument shines through. The addendum — packed full of information on banjo history, Internet sources and more — encourages readers to dig deeper and Selcuk Demirel’s whimsical illustrations that preface each chapter add charm.

The under-stated humour and quirky observations are appealing, as are the extremes of luxury and contrasting poignancy in Jeremiah’s life. This is a touching and fresh story whose lightness and brevity will engage and empower young readers.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Spring 2011. Volume 34 No. 2.

Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

Banjo of Destiny

Jeremiah Birnbaum comes from a stinking rich family who have everything they want and need. When Jeremiah hears the captivating strains of a banjo being played by an elderly gentleman, he knows he must learn to play. But when his parents forbid him from buying one, he decides he’ll just have to make one for himself.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Fall, 2012.

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