cover image Pages of Music

Pages of Music

Tony Johnston. Putnam Publishing Group, $13.95 (30pp) ISBN 978-0-399-21436-3

A painter and her son visit the small but beautiful island of Sardinia. While the woman paints the mountains, hills, bays and sheep, her son Paolo is as free as the wind. One day a shepherd offers them fogli di musica pages of music, a thin, hard bread. When the mother offers to pay him, the shepherd laughs, takes out his pipe and fills the air with sweet music. At last they leave the island, and as they sail to the mainland, Paolo says that one day he will go back. Many years later, after he has become a famous composer, Paolo remembers the shepherd and the beautiful music. He decides to return to the island, but he does not go alone. Instead, he takes an entire orchestra with him. The musicians, with their instruments, go to the church and there they wait for the shepherds who will go there for the Christmas service. When the shepherds arrive the musicians begin to play, and Paolo shares with them his fogli di musica. DePaola and Johnston have previously collaborated on The Quilt Story and The Vanishing Pumpkin. Once again the crisp, succinct text and dePaola's distinctive folk-art illustrations blend to create a warm and joyous book. Ages 5-8. (Oct.)