Itzhak: A Boy Who Loved the Violin

Abrams. May 2020. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781419741104.
K-Gr 4–This appealing picture book biography concentrates on the childhood of violinist Itzhak Perlman. Born to Polish Jewish parents living in Palestine in 1945, Perlman first heard music from a radio in his family’s small apartment. He began studying the violin at age five and became a worldwide sensation after appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1958. Dismissed by some people as a novelty act, Perlman accepted a scholarship to Juilliard to continue his training, ultimately resulting in an illustrious performing and teaching career, winning 16 Grammys and four Emmys. Detailed back matter includes author and illustrator notes, a time line, and an extensive bibliography, and fills in details about the virtuoso’s life. Watercolor and colored pencil illustrations, finished digitally, show bars of music swirling around Perlman to demonstrate how completely sound is woven into his existence.
VERDICT Newman’s text paired with Halpin’s effective illustrations and design offers an intriguing glimpse into the life of this musician and advocate.

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