I gotta admit. I didn't know Mo Willems had this in him. I guess all the Elephant and Piggie and the Pigeon books made me forget the CITY DOG COUNTRY FROG side of him. But it's there and it's wonderful.
Welcome to the world of classical music. Say what? Yep, as the curtain goes up on this story we first meet Symphony no. 8 in B-minor by Franz Schubert, the sheet music. Any child who has had a few years of music lessons will be able to sit down and make this part of their repertoire. For children who don't know how to play an instrument, what a great nudge to the old curiosity and a great revelation that other kids might know this as part of their world already. (FOMO). The world swings open a little bit wider.
Score by Mo Willems and Performance by Amber Ren is how the title page reads with a young girl taking her bow as the opus begins, "This is how it happened." Turns out you need to go all the way back to Beethoven to find the beginning of this story. You see BECAUSE Beethoven wrote beautiful music, Franz Schubert was inspired to write his own. BECAUSE many years later people wanted to hear Franz's music, they formed an orchestra.
We begin at Beethoven and we follow a string of magical notes that lead us into the present where a young woman steps up to conduct an orchestra. This story is about what's in between the beginning and the magical moment in the now.
Watch this amazing chain of connections otherwise known as BECAUSES as it leads all the way from Franz to a little girl who serendipitously gets a ticket to hear the orchestra play Franz's music. You see her uncle gets sick and cannot attend the performance so the ticket belongs to her. Row C, Seat 14 is where the magic happens. So many wonderful pieces come together as though the universe was composing its own symphony. Plucking a train conductor here and an usher there and the lucky we get to watch it all weave together with a sense of purpose and clear determination. It's as though the universe knows exactly where it's heading with all of the small moments and connections it choreographs.
Everyone knows Mo Willems has incredible comedic timing and the tempo he creates here is spot on, of course. This one will make the biggest unbeliever start thinking about her/his own possible BECAUSES. It's incredible to step back and see how one act of kindness here, a risk taken there, a serendipitous illness here.... well, it's pretty amazing this world we live in.
Every life is filled with BECAUSE and even has the phenomenal potential to be the catalyst for someone else's very special gifts. Life is amazing, isn't it?
Can you figure out your BECAUSE?
Glorious. Uplifting. An inspiration to every child. This is beautiful magic.
40 pages 978-1368019019 Ages 4-9
Recommended by: Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com
Mo Willems, a number one New York Times best-selling author and illustrator, composes a powerful symphony of chance, discovery, persistence, and magic in this moving tale of a young girl's journey to center stage. Illustrator Amber Ren brings Willems' music to life, conducting a stunning picture-book debut.