'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 6 May 2011

Review: Song of the Dove

The first thing that struck me about this historical love story / picture book, was the striking cover image. Illustrator Sonia Kretschmar has certainly created a striking backdrop for this retelling of Italian composer Bellini’s love for a young girl - Maddalena.

Song of the Dove follows Bellini from his days as a music student in Naples, through his rapid rise to fame - penning brilliant scores for some of the greatest opera houses in Europe.

When Bellini begins teaching a young aristocrat to sing, he never expects to fall in love with the stunning Maddalena. Much to her parents' chagrin, the young couple fall head-over-heels - and when Bellini asks for her hand in marriage, Maddalena's parents are outraged. A poor music student for their daughter? Never!

Bellini promises he will one day become a rich and famous composer, but it's not enough to sate his young love's parents. Defeated, the composer moves to Milan, promising his young love that after he writes his tenth opera, they will be together forever.

Like many of the most famous love stories of all time, this tale ends in tragedy. Simply yet evocatively told, beautifully-produced and stunningly illustrated, Song of the Dove is another in an increasing line of historically-driven picture books (and junior faction) that are charming both adults and children everywhere.

After all, is not truth even far more fascinating than fiction?

Title: Song of the Dove
Author: Errol Broome
Illustrator: Sonia Kretschmar
Publisher: Walker Books, A$29.95RRP
Publication Date: April 2011
Format: Hard cover
ISBN: 9781921529245
For ages: 5 - 10
Type: Picture book