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THE CARDBOARD PIANO by Lynne Rae Perkins Kirkus Star


by Lynne Rae Perkins & illustrated by Lynne Rae Perkins

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-06-154265-7
Publisher: Greenwillow

Debbie, of 2005’s Newbery-winning Criss Cross, reappears in a book for younger readers that quietly underscores the truth that friends can still be friends even if they have different enthusiasms and interests. Debbie’s desire to share her piano lessons with best friend Tina inspires her to create a cardboard keyboard for her friend. When Tina returns the unused keyboard, Debbie, disappointed and hurt, realizes that the ersatz piano was no fun, but there are still many things they both like, such as making cookies and dancing. The children’s dialogue is pitch-perfect, and the impressionistic paintings in bright watercolor, pen and ink are chockablock with witty details such as “cookies” made from stones, iced with mud and spread with a stick “utensil.” Few authors understand the anatomy of childhood and the inherent small dramas of friendship with more emotional intelligence than Perkins. Her modest, good-humored explorations of juvenilia stand out for their acute but understated honesty. (DVD) (Picture book. 4-7)