An honest portrayal of a young girl's emotional journey amid family upheavals.
Nine-year-old Emily is trying to cope with her changing world. When her father and mother grow further apart, the family's piano -- Emily's link to the good times that once flooded her home -- is sold. She decides the key to the happiness her family used to share is the piano, and so she must find it.
Believing the instrument is most likely in a part of town where rich people live, Emily sets out on her search. She knocks on many doors without success, but carries on, determined to end the darkness that has descended on her home. Finally a piano teacher gives her a lead. Though the days pass slowly, she eventually receives the anticipated call. "Be there Sunday at 1 p.m. sharp," she's told.
It turns out the piano is now in a convent, where it sits in the middle of a room, like royalty. Sister Isabelle tells Emily she can come by any Sunday, and she can bring her mother too.
The first time Emily's mother sees the piano, she plays, sings, and cries. The darkness in their lives slowly tiptoes away as Emily and her mother rediscover happiness and the healing power music brings.
Charlotte Gingras is the award-winning author of nine books for young readers. She lives in Montreal.
Stéphane Jorisch is the illustrator of more than a dozen books for children and a winner of multiple Governor General's Awards. He lives in Montreal.
Some may find hope and strength in how one child deals with family upheaval.
The first person narrative is powerful and succinct... Readers are caught up in Emily's struggle to help her mother and her family. There is surprising depth to the character development in such a short novel.... The line drawings, which reflect the angst, intensity and joy expressed in the text, add to the reader's experience.
The child's view of adult secrets is powerfully revealed in simple poetic language and sophisticated black-and-white artwork that shows anger and sorrow as well as love.