Monday, August 06, 2007


Cassie Loves Beethoven

by Alan Arkin.

This book would make a wonderful read-aloud for a child maybe 5-10 years old. Why the wide range? Well, it's gentle enough for a younger child who can sit still long enough for a chapter or two a night but needs light themes, but is fun and has enough depth of feeling and discussable ideas to suit an older kid, too.

It is, in short, about a cow who discovers classical music and the awe of Beethoven. Well, I certainly can relate to that, because he is my favourite, too. She becomes determined to learn to play his music, to feel it deeply, to taste what it might have been like to be him, to have the soul she hears in the notes. The book writes beautifully about music and its power to move the spirit - you can really hear the author's own love for it. Cassie the cow does, in the end, learn a valuable lesson, too, but the lesson is not that harsh, and the book never takes on a lesson-giving tone. While not as funny as I had been led to expect, this was nonetheless a great read, and one that I will keep in mind for a couple of years from now.

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