A piano with magical properties opens up new worlds to a 9-year-old girl in this debut middle-grade fantasy.
A surprise awaits Laurel and her parents when they move into their new Lakeland, Florida, home. Tucked away in a storage shed behind the house is an antique piano. The instrument is promptly promised to Laurel as an early present for her 10th birthday. Initially, she’s less than thrilled with the development. After all, accepting the gift means her parents will likely pressure her into continuing piano lessons—a chore Laurel thought she’d left behind in North Carolina. But when an impromptu concert throws the neighborhood into chaos, Laurel discovers that the piano is enchanted. Along with a talking cat, Tatanka, and her ferret, Houdini, Laurel uses the instrument to transport herself across time and space, including into magical realms. She learns about the piano’s history through her travels and connects with Daff, a fast-talking fairy. But as Laurel learns more about the piano’s past, she’s also exposed to the dangers posed by the extraordinary instrument. Can she use magic to right past wrongs? Or will the piano’s powers fall into the hands of evil forces? The story is told in four parts. Early in the book, Sedona introduces readers to the German woodcutter who crafted the piano in 1888 and to a 20th-century magician who previously used the instrument in his act. But it’s not until Laurel arrives on the scene that the story truly begins to take shape, and oh, what a tale. Laurel, imaginative and independent, embarks on action-packed adventures. Sedona’s writing style will especially appeal to younger readers: puns abound, several characters speak in rhyme, and the tale offers plenty of shenanigans. In one memorable passage, Houdini escapes from his cage during a road trip and climbs up the pant leg of Laurel’s father. “Dad slammed the car in park, jumped out, and pulled his jeans off in the redbrick driveway,” Sedona writes. “Mothers were holding their children close for safety as Dad stood in the driveway, wearing just his boxer shorts, which read ‘Where the Sun Don’t Shine.’ ”
A modern-day fairy tale about a time-traveling heroine told with heart and humor.