Walker Books, 2022
32pp., hbk., RRP $A26.99
Isla and Bea are two sisters who share a love of music. Big sister Isla plays the violin (her honey fog machine) but Bea is waiting for her music to start. She knows it will because she comes from such a musical family but somehow binking on a triangle (no matter how dramatic it can be at the right place) just isn’t enough. And then she discovers the piano, “on tiny gold wheels… a baby mountain, smelling gently of mouse.”
But even though it is big, it still doesn’t play the sweet music that Bea craves and so she declares, “The world is not ready for my genius”.
But, with the help of Maestro Gus, the cat ghost of the piano, Bea will make her sparkling debut and she and Isla will at last make beautiful music together.
Over the years, Magerl has offered us some stunning stories including Nop, Maya & Cat and Hasel and Rose and this new one is no exception. Subtly exploring the theme of finding one’s own talent, the text is as lyrical as the music from Isla’s honey fog machine and the illustrations as light as a touch on the keyboard.
From one who, despite years of lessons and hours of practice, still has dreams of mastering the piano that has pride of place in the lounge, this is an inspirational story that all hope is not lost. Perhaps today is the day I will find my own Maestro Gus – perhaps not. When it comes to music I don’t have the belief, the expectation, the tenacity or the perseverance of Bea but young readers will enjoy her story and be encouraged as they realise that even those with natural talent (once they discover what it is) need to learn and practise and persevere. Something that many will need to hear at the start of this new learning year.