THE CELLO OF MR. O by Jane Cutler


Age Range: 6 - 9
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In a shelled, rubble-strewn city, women and children huddle indoors and wait—for the war to be over, for the men to come home, for the fear to end. When even the slight lift brought by the weekly arrival of relief supplies is taken away by the bombing of the delivery truck, irascible old Mr. O calmly steps out into the open and, despite the danger, sits down to play Bach on his magnificent cello. Cutler (’Gator Aid, p. 1131, etc.) has fashioned a simply told, powerfully evoked tale of music and courage; in somber watercolors lit by abstract swirls of color, Couch places the young narrator and her neighbor amidst shattered buildings beneath overcast skies. Not even the destruction of his cello stops Mr. O from continuing to deliver his gift; out of his pocket comes a harmonica, and the music soars again. Though the setting and characters have a modern, European look, neither locale nor enemy is specified, or, in fact, relevant. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-525-46119-1
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1999