A Concert in the Sand

Tami Shem-Tov and Rachella Sandbank, illus. by Avi Ofer. Kar-Ben, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5124-0099-1
Uri is bored hanging out in his parents’ Tel Aviv delicatessen, so he follows his grandmother on what he thinks is an idle stroll. Grandma has a purpose in mind; she just can’t tell Uri, because she speaks only German. The pair becomes part of an exuberant, ever-growing procession through the city, led by a group of people “with funny shaped cases”; when they arrive at an auditorium, Uri realizes that Grandma has brought him to an important concert. “The notes enter my ears, and go straight to my heart,” says Uri, as Grandma cries “tears of happiness.” This lightly fictionalized tale has a wonderful, true backstory: in December 1936, a group of musicians, all Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany, gave the first performance of what became the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra. Ofer’s fluid watercolor-and-ink cartooning is celebratory and cinematic as the crowd makes its way through the busy metropolis. But Shem-Tov and Sandbank’s wordy text spends too much time ineffectively building suspense and not enough on giving readers any of the dramatic and poignant context; it’s not until the afterword that the event’s full significance is revealed. Ages 4–9. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/16/2017
Release date: 01/01/2017
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-1-5124-0101-1
Hardcover - 978-1-5124-2718-9
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