Raj grows up with his father and a quiet piano. One day, when he is still young, he sits down and begins plunking away at the keys.
As Raj gets older, he continues to play and experiment with the instrument. To the delight of his father, Raj is able to create beautiful music on his own. Raj’s father hires a teacher to help the boy hone his natural talent. Though Raj becomes greatly skilled over the years, he also becomes weary of the work, and eventually, he stops playing altogether. Raj grows up and moves away, and the piano lies silent. When Raj learns that his father is not well, he returns home, and his dad asks him to play a song; not one he learned from a teacher, but the one that comes from his heart. Much like Reynolds’ Ish (2004), this title encourages the free expression of creativity rather than a preoccupation with external form. Reynolds’ signature mixed-media illustrations make deft use of white space and muted color to enhance the emotion of the text. Raj is depicted with a mop of black hair and light skin. The sentimentality of the grown child returning home to play for his aging father may be lost on children but will surely pull on the heartstrings of adults.
A reminder (perhaps more to adults than children) not to stifle creativity but to let it flow from within. (Picture book. 5-9)