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MUSIC FOR THE END OF TIME by Jen Bryant

MUSIC FOR THE END OF TIME

By Jen Bryant (Author) , Beth Peck (Illustrator)

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-8028-5229-7
Publisher: Eerdmans

Soulful drawings in charcoal and pastel illustrate this poignant bright-spot-in-the-middle-of-war story. French composer Olivier Messiaen is taken in a dark truck to a German prison camp. He carries a small knapsack containing his own sheet music. One day, despondent, he knowingly risks death in order to walk outside and hear a nightingale. An officer catches him, but instead of shooting, offers him a tiny room in which to spend daily time composing. Inspired by the nightingale’s song, Olivier writes a quartet, which he performs along with three other imprisoned musicians. Five thousand prisoners gather to listen. “Like birdsong, it was wild, beautiful, and full of hope.” Peck uses yellow wonderfully, incorporating it with browns and greens to show both joy and despair. Her pictures carry a perfect balance of pain and possibility. Bryant gives no historical context except in her note. Readers may require WWII explanations. (author’s note) (Historical fiction. 9-12)