A Violin for Elva

illus. by Tricia Tusa. 32p. Houghton Harcourt. Jan. 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780152254834.
Gr 1–3—As a young girl, Elva yearns for a violin. She pretends to play, improvising with a tennis racket and a tree branch. She rehearses for imaginary recitals with a toothbrush in front of the bathroom mirror. At school, she enlivens blackboard math lessons with treble clefs and musical notation. Elva never outgrows her love for the instrument, and as an adult she wistfully "[keeps] imagining what might have been." In her later years, after a lifetime of longing, she buys herself a violin. Tusa's delicate watercolor and ink illustrations show the woman on a busy city sidewalk, clutching her new instrument in a joyful embrace, as the sunshine casts a spotlight on her. With practice, patience, and perseverance, Elva learns to create sweet music. This charming book artfully and evocatively explores the joy that comes from following your dreams.—Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada
Little Elva desperately wants a violin, but her parents won't buy her one. She improvises with a badminton racket and a leafy branch. Elva's preoccupation with music never goes away, but it's not until she's old that she buys herself a violin. Though the particulars don't have much child appeal, Elva's passion comes through with tenderness and humor in both text and pictures.

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