Nominee for the 2012 Silver Birch Express Award in the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading Program.
Jeremiah Birnbaum is stinking rich. He lives in a house with nine bathrooms, a games room, an exercise room, an indoor pool, a hot tub, a movie theater, a bowling alley and a tennis court. His parents, a former hotdog vendor and window cleaner who made it big in dental floss, make sure Jeremiah goes to the very best private school, and that he takes lessons in all the things he will need to know how to do as an accomplished and impressive young man: etiquette lessons, ballroom dancing, watercolor painting. And, of course, classical piano.
Jeremiah complies, because he wants to please his parents. But one day, by chance, he hears the captivating strains of a different kind of music -- the strums, plucks and rhythms of a banjo. It is music that stirs something in Jeremiah's dutiful little soul, and he is suddenly obsessed. And when his parents forbid him to play one, he decides to learn anyway -- even if he has to make the instrument himself.
Cary Fagan has won the Vicky Metcalf Award, the Jewish Book Award and the IODE Jean Throop Book Award, and his books have been nominated for the Rogers Trust Fiction Prize, the Giller Prize, the Silver Birch Award, the Norma Fleck Award and the Rocky Mountain Book Award. He is the author of several popular short novels and picture books, including Danny, Who Fell in a Hole and A Cage Went in Search of a Bird (illustrated by Banafsheh Erfanian). The Old World, his recent collection of adult short stories, was published by Anansi in March 2017.Selcuk Demirel was born in Artvin, Turkey, in 1954. He moved to Paris in 1978 and still lives there.
This bittersweet novel has just the right touch of wit and creativity to catch and keep the attention of young discerning readers. Thoroughly entwined into the novel is an unusual twist on the economics concept of wants versus needs that will encourage readers to think about what brings true happiness. - Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children
...a low-key charmer. - Kirkus Reviews
...[a] heartfelt novel... - Sean Dixon, Quill & Quire
...this sweet, quirky little book hits all the right notes. Highly recommended. - Kim Aippersbach, CM Magazine
This has the spirit and cheer of comic melodrama, its fun coming as much from Fagan's breezy asides as from the plot. - Deirdre Baker, Toronto Star
This is a touching and fresh story whose lightness and brevity will engage and empower young readers. - Aileen Wortley, Canadian Children's Book News
... Fagan presents a sweet, quiet, and neatly packaged tale that emphasizes the importance of hard work and following your dreams in the face of adversity. - Rita Meade, School Library Journal
...warm and cheerful and would be welcomed by anyone with a musical bent... - Sal's Fiction Addiction
There is much that parents and their kids can share in the novel, a quality not easily found in books aimed at adolescents. - Norman Ravvin, The Canadian Jewish News
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