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DUET by Elise Broach


by Elise Broach ; illustrated by Ziyue Chen

Pub Date: May 10th, 2022
ISBN: 978-0-316-31135-9
Publisher: Christy Ottaviano Books

A singing goldfinch becomes a musical muse for a young piano prodigy.

Mirabelle, a young female goldfinch who loves music, closely watches the home of Mr. Starek, a gifted piano teacher. One day, a tween boy named Michael Jin arrives, clearly against his wishes. The boy refuses to play for the esteemed teacher, who is supposed to help Michael prepare for the prestigious Chopin Festival in Hartford. Broach unfurls a shy dance between boy and bird, as Mirabelle’s curiosity helps Michael, who presents as East Asian American, reveal his precocious talent. When Michael plays Chopin’s Minute Waltz, Mirabelle, perched in a tree outside the window, begins to sing along, inspiring both to perform beyond their expectations. This creates a musical friendship that leads them to the mystery of Chopin’s lost piano. Readers learn about the historical friendship among three geniuses: Frédéric Chopin; his muse, the writer George Sand; and painter Eugene Delacroix. A dilapidated house stuffed with treasures holds a rare piano that brings forth the duo’s best performances, but will the bank take the house and all its contents away? Glimpses of bird life provide a lighthearted balance to the fine details of musicality and piano virtuosity. This story illustrates an appreciation for excellence and the passion to create music just for the joy of it. Final art not seen.

A quick and interesting musical read, full of history and mystery.

(author's note) (Fiction. 8-12)