Cassie Loves Beethoven

Alan Arkin, Author
Alan Arkin, Author Hyperion Books $16.99 (176p) ISBN 978-0-7868-0564-8
Reviewed on: 10/30/2000
Release date: 11/01/2000
Hardcover - 188 pages - 978-0-7868-2489-2
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At least some of actor, director and sometime composer Arkin's (The Lemming Condition) multiple credits seem to converge in this quirky tale of one quite dramatic and eccentric Guernsey cow, Cassie. In an attempt to encourage her to give milk, siblings David and Hallie Kennedy place a radio playing classical music in her shed. When she hears Beethoven's Sixth Symphony (the Pastoral Symphony), the animal suddenly begins to talk, announcing that the music ""made me happier than I thought possible in this life. It's brought me to places that I didn't know existed."" And after attending a symphony concert, Cassie is no longer content to listen to Beethoven's music--she is determined to play it. Her rather unwieldy hooves get in the way, however, until the children's father fashions a 30-foot-long musical keyboard. On this the cow learns to play a rondo by Beethoven, which she then performs with both a high school and a symphony orchestra. Arkin injects some funny snippets (""A good beginning.... She's got a very light touch for a cow,"" announces Cassie's first piano teacher), yet the single-gag story line sags midway through the often wordy narrative. Ages 8-12. (Nov.)
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