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Contributor(s): Ryan, Pam Munoz, Mirtalipova, Dinara (Conductor)

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ISBN: 0439874025     ISBN-13: 9780439874021
Publisher: Scholastic Pr
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Binding Type: Hardcover - See All Available Formats & Editions
Published: February 2015

Annotation: Decades after a man is entwined in a prophecy-based quest involving three mysterious sisters and a harmonica, three individuals from different areas of the world confront daunting challenges involving the same harmonica.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Harmonica; Juvenile fiction.
Music; Juvenile fiction.
Fate and fatalism; Juvenile fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2014021482
Lexile Measure: 680
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 7-9, Age 12-14
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 8.75" H x 6.50" W x 2.00" (1.90 lbs) 585 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 171965
Reading Level: 4.9   Interest Level: Middle Grades   Point Value: 13.0
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q65307
Reading Level: 4.2   Interest Level: Grades 6-8   Point Value: 20.0
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2015 Fall)
A boy is mesmerized by a story about three princesses trapped under a witch's spell until they save a life through a special harmonica. This story within a story is prelude to three more. Ryan's storytelling prowess and vivid voice lead readers through a hefty tome illuminated by layers of history, adventure, and the seemingly magical but ultimately very human spirit of music.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2015 #2)
Lost in the forest, a boy is mesmerized by a story about three princesses trapped under a witch's spell until they save a life through a special harmonica. This story within a story is prelude to a set of three more: young Friedrich, working in a harmonica factory in 1933 Germany, watches as his sister joins the Hitler Youth and his father endangers the family by speaking out against the Nazis, sending Friedrich on a desperate plan of rescue. Two orphaned brothers with musical talent in 1935 Pennsylvania struggle to stay together, resting their hopes on a rich widow and a traveling harmonica band. In 1942 California, Ivy Lopez's family takes over the farm of an interned Japanese family, where Ivy finds herself for the first time in a segregated school. She strives to bring three families together -- white, Latino, and Japanese American -- who all have sons in the armed forces. Ryan fluidly builds setting, character, and drama for each story and then leaves each on a knife's edge; the expected yet compelling epilogue winds all stories together, on one splendid postwar night at Carnegie Hall. The harmonica and the love of music serve as the unifying threads for these tales of young people who save the lives and spirits of their families and neighbors, each in a time marked by bigotry and violence. It's an ambitious device, but Ryan's storytelling prowess and vivid voice lead readers expertly through a hefty tome illuminated by layers of history, adventure, and the seemingly magical but ultimately very human spirit of music. nina lindsa Copyright 2014 Horn Book Magazine.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2014 December #4)

The fairy tale that opens this elegant trio of interconnected stories from Ryan (The Dreamer) sets the tone for the rest of the book, in which a mystical harmonica brings together three children growing up before and during WWII. Friedrich, an aspiring conductor whose birthmark makes him an undesirable in Nazi Germany, must try to rescue his father after his Jewish sympathies land him in a prison camp. In Pennsylvania, piano prodigy Mike and his brother, Frankie, get a chance to escape the orphanage for good, but only if they can connect with the eccentric woman who has adopted them. In California, Ivy Maria struggles with her school's segregation as well as the accusations leveled against Japanese landowners who might finally offer her family a home of their own. Each individual story is engaging, but together they harmonize to create a thrilling whole. The book's thematic underpinnings poignantly reveal what Friedrich, Mike, and Ivy truly have in common: not just a love of music, but resourcefulness in the face of change, and a refusal to accept injustice. Ages 10–14. Agent: Kendra Marcus, BookStop Literary Agency. (Feb.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2014 December)

Gr 5–8—"Long before enchantment was eclipsed by doubt," a young boy named Otto lost in the woods is rescued by three sisters imprisoned there by a witch's curse. In return, he promises to help break the curse by carrying their spirits out of the forest in a mouth harp and passing the instrument along when the time is right. The narrative shifts to the 20th century, when the same mouth harp (aka harmonica) becomes the tangible thread that connects the stories of three children: Friedrich, a disfigured outcast; Mike, an impoverished orphan; and Ivy, an itinerant farmer's child. Their personal struggles are set against some of the darkest eras in human history: Friedrich, the rise of Nazi Germany; Mike, the Great Depression; Ivy, World War II. The children are linked by musical talent and the hand of fate that brings Otto's harmonica into their lives. Each recognizes something unusual about the instrument, not only its sound but its power to fill them with courage and hope. Friedrich, Mike, and Ivy are brought together by music and destiny in an emotionally triumphant conclusion at New York's Carnegie Hall. Meticulous historical detail and masterful storytelling frame the larger history, while the story of Otto and the cursed sisters honor timeless and traditional folktales. Ryan has created three contemporary characters who, through faith and perseverance, write their own happy endings, inspiring readers to believe they can do the same.—Marybeth Kozikowski, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY

[Page 126]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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