cover image The Man Who Sang in the Dark

The Man Who Sang in the Dark

Eth Clifford. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $13.95 (112pp) ISBN 978-0-395-43664-6

Nobody wants to rent to a penniless widow with two young children. During the Depression, rents are hard to collect even from people with jobs. But Leah and Daniel's mother convinces the crusty but kind old couple who own the grocery store to let them live in two rooms upstairs. A blind musician also moves into the building, inadvertently frightening Leah because he is different but enchanting her mother with his nightly guitar playing. Seen from Leah's viewpoint, life can be scary and happiness uncertain, especially when her mother agrees to let her beloved brother be adopted by a rich lady. Leah, trusting her own instincts and supported by the blind singer who tells her courage is ""fear with a brave face,'' goes to reclaim her brother. Even though the ending is too patLeah's mother marries the musician, and they jointly buy a huge old house with the grocery store owners, and the rich lady adopts a baby from Californiareaders gladly go along with this good old-fashioned heartwarmer.Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 10-12. (September)