When Lesley is sent to Venice to interview world-renowned violinist Paulo Levi on his fiftieth birthday, she cannot believe her luck. She is told that she can ask him anything at all – except the Mozart question. But it is Paulo himself who decides that it is time for the truth to be told.
This is not really a picture book for young children (it’s listed on the Walker website as being suitable for 7+ – I’d judge your own 7 year old carefully), but the sadness went over the little ones’ heads, and unusually for a Morpurgo, it isn’t horrendously sad. Obviously, with it being about concentration camps and the holocaust, it’s not precisely cheerful throughout, but the overall story is about survivors, legacies and a little boy who likes music, so doesn’t seem that sad at face value.
It’s rooted in reality, as many of his books are, in that there were Jewish musicians forced to play music as new prisoners arrived at concentration camps. It’s fiction in that none of the characters in it are real.
The illustrator is one of my all time favourites – one of our first most read picture books was Hello World by Michael Foreman. Must try to find another copy – no idea where the original went.
What it’s got: sadness, and pictures by Michael Foreman.
What it’s not: a book for little children really.