Itzhak: A Boy Who Loved the Violin
Itzhak: A Boy Who Loved the Violin

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Annotation: Provides a picture-book biography of virtuoso Itzhak Perlman, who survived a near-fatal, crippling boyhood bout of polio to become one of the greatest violinists of all time.
Genre: Biographies
Catalog Number: #293873
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Illustrator: Halpin, Abigail,
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-419-74110-1 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-9855-0
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-419-74110-4 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-9855-6
Dewey: 921
LCCN: 2019010421
Dimensions: 28 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Growing up in Tel Aviv, young Itzhak Perlman loved music, whether it came from the radio, a klezmer band, a cantorial chant, or a classical symphony. He first attempted the violin at age three; following hospitalization and rehabilitation for polio, he resumed his training at five. By age 10 he was giving solo performances, and he appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show at 13. Newman emphasizes young Itzhak's emotional connection to music: he sees it as rainbows of colors, imagines the personalities of the pieces, and becomes the melodies. While lingering paralysis means that he always performs sitting rather than standing, his disabilities do not prevent him from achieving his musical goals. Halpin's watercolor and colored-pencil illustrations clarify and extend the text by including many vivid details in the settings. She also incorporates musical notation (from Bach's Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor and Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto) throughout, which lends a magical feel to the art. Appended with generous back matter, this is a perfect introduction to this violin virtuoso.
Kirkus Reviews
Newman recounts the childhood of renowned Israeli American violinist and polio survivor Itzhak Perlman.In his family’s tiny Tel Aviv apartment, the “graceful classical symphonies” and “lively klezmer folk tunes” pouring from the radio enchanted Itzhak; at 3, he begged for a violin. But at 4, polio left him paralyzed. Though “other four-year-olds might have given up,” a “steady melody played inside Itzhak,” spurring him to relearn everyday tasks. But his legs remained paralyzed, requiring him to walk with forearm crutches and play his violin seated. Undaunted, he made the “extraordinary choice” of being neither sad nor angry; barriers, such as stairs, were “ordinary things Itzhak just had to get used to.” After joining Israeli orchestras at 6 and playing solos at 10, he performed on The Ed Sullivan Show in New York at 13 despite knowing little English. The upbeat text, interspersed with quotes from the adult Perlman, amplifies his resilience and passion. But Halpin’s vibrant illustrations take center stage. Bars of Bach and Mendelssohn adorn the pages, bursts of red, yellow, blue, and green reflecting the musical “rainbow” in Itzhak’s mind; tender facial expressions convey Itzhak’s passion and his family’s love. An author’s note mentions Perlman’s advocacy for people with disabilities (jarringly and anachronistically referred to as “the handicapped” and “wheelchair-bound”); a timeline charts Perlman’s extensive career. Most characters, including Itzhak, present white.An eye-catching tale of music and perseverance. (illustrator’s note, notes, links, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-10)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4 This appealing picture book biography concentrates on the childhood of violinist Itzhak Perlman. Born to Polish Jewish parents living in Palestine in 1945, Perlman first heard music from a radio in his family's small apartment. He began studying the violin at age five and became a worldwide sensation after appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1958. Dismissed by some people as a novelty act, Perlman accepted a scholarship to Juilliard to continue his training, ultimately resulting in an illustrious performing and teaching career, winning 16 Grammys and four Emmys. Detailed back matter includes author and illustrator notes, a time line, and an extensive bibliography, and fills in details about the virtuoso's life. Watercolor and colored pencil illustrations, finished digitally, show bars of music swirling around Perlman to demonstrate how completely sound is woven into his existence. VERDICT Newman's text paired with Halpin's effective illustrations and design offers an intriguing glimpse into the life of this musician and advocate. Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (4/1/20)
Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Word Count: 985
Reading Level: 4.4
Interest Level: P-2
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.4 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 511592 / grade: Lower Grades

This picture-book biography of violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman will inspire young readers to follow the melody within themselves Before becoming one of the greatest violinists of all time, Itzhak Perlman was simply a boy who loved music. Raised by a poor immigrant family in a tiny Tel Aviv apartment, baby Itzhak was transformed by the sounds from his family's kitchen radio-graceful classical symphonies, lively klezmer tunes, and soulful cantorial chants. The rich melodies and vibrant rhythms spoke to him like magic, filling his mind with vivid rainbows of color. After begging his parents for an instrument, Itzhak threw his heart and soul into playing the violin. Despite enormous obstacles-including a near-fatal bout of polio that left him crippled for life-Itzhak persevered, honing his extraordinary gift. When he performed on the Ed Sullivan Show sat only 13, audiences around the world were mesmerized by the warmth, joy, and passion in every note. Gorgeously illustrated with extensive back matter, this picture-book biography recounts Itzhak's childhood journey-from a boy with a dream to an internationally acclaimed violin virtuoso.

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