Though accustomed to making stories with others, an “old Russian typewriter” now spins a tale of its own.
This quirky tale begins with the typewriter, painted lovingly in exquisite detail, presenting itself and its 33 Cyrillic letters, with which it makes “beautiful sounds.” At the outset, the typewriter belongs to a Russian writer, and the two create stories together. Everything changes, however, when the writer decides to start a new life in America. Being able to bring only “the most necessary things,” he chooses the typewriter, for “how else can [he] write in America?” The new land brings new challenges, and the typewriter soon finds itself neglected, abandoned for newer technologies. Worse yet, in typical Russian-novel fashion, it begins to rain. But a new day brings an inquisitive little girl to the typewriter; although she doesn’t know Russian, she cajoles her father into bringing it home. The typewriter, overjoyed, shows her its keys, convinced that “we will make beautiful sounds together.” Simple language, the detached yet tender narrative voice, and wonderfully stylized, almost jazzlike illustrations in muted colors give this story its charm. Human figures throughout are diverse, and the father-and-daughter pair who rescue the typewriter present black. Readers familiar with Russian and the Cyrillic alphabet may enjoy trying to decipher the printed scraps of the writer’s work scattered throughout.
A gentle, unusual take on the immigration story. (author’s note) (Picture book. 6-10)