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

Monday 31 October 2022

Review: Violin & Cello

There’s something quite magical about listening to and playing acoustic music, especially when stringed instruments are involved. It’s kind of pure and uplifting. Resonant. Moving, even!

Violin & Cello is a children’s book with a special and wonderful added bonus in the form of a musical score. From the outset I was hooked, poring over the intricate illustrations and wondering about the families who lived in the welcoming pair of apartments that span the first double-page spread. 

One balcony is decorated with pot plants, a couch, open doors, fairy lights festooned around the windows and a rush of sunlight. The other is more austere and ordered but still with a very enticing exterior, complete with cat.

The story involves two children who live side by side in city apartments but have never met. Their homes are different in terms of culture, décor, food and lifestyle – but in one important way, they are the same. They are both home to children who play music.

Violin & Cello shows how these mystery friends become musical friends, through their shared love of playing music. They learn individually, and through the story their curiosity and friendship grows which allows them to play and perform together.

As a parent whose children were deliberately schooled in stringed instruments from a young age (because they resonate deeply through their bodies and minds as they are played), I’m a pushover for any creative works that encourage community mindedness and music making. Especially when accompanied by such beautiful, eloquent music as this book is.

A captivating story which is adorned with gorgeous, detailed illustrations and set against the backdrop of a stunning musical accompaniment which can be listened to on the EK books website. This package with book and printed music represents an innovative, expansive and perhaps even bold vision, leading us happily into the wider world of creative arts.

Such a gift.

Title: Violin & Cello
Author: Catherine Greer
Illustrator: Joanna Bartell
Music: Alexander Lau
Publisher: EK Books, $24.99
Publication Date: September 2022
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781922539274
For ages: 4 - 8
Type: Picture Book