cover image Sweet Notes, Sour Nntes

Sweet Notes, Sour Nntes

Nancy Smiler Levinson. Dutton Books, $12.99 (64pp) ISBN 978-0-525-67379-8

When Zayde, David's grandfather, takes David to hear the great concert artist Mischa Elman, the fourth-grader is entranced and declares, ``I want to make the violin sing too.'' His parents are skeptical, believing his surge of interest to be yet another of David's short-lived enthusiasms, while sister Rose snickers. David persists and, with Zayde's help, a violin is rented and a teacher found. Daunted by the difficulty of learning (and by the emotive Madame Markov), David briefly considers giving up. This invitingly atmospheric vignette effectively captures a prewar urban ambience and, more particularly, the quiet warmth of a closely knit first-generation Jewish family. Peck's softly evocative pencil sketches expand on the reassuringly cozy proceedings of the steady narrative. Levinson's novel, believable and genuinely beguiling, should find a place alongside those of Riki Levinson and Sydney Taylor. Ages 7-10. (July)