Maurine F. Dahlberg Play to the Angel

ISBN 13: 9780374359942

Play to the Angel

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9780374359942: Play to the Angel
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A budding pianist will not be stopped, even by Nazis

In February 1938, in Vienna, twelve-year-old Greta Radky is devastated to learn that her mother plans to sell the family piano. Greta's brother, a concert pianist, died the previous April, and her mother thinks of the piano as his. But Greta is an equally committed musician, and when she meets a mysterious piano teacher who agrees to work with her, she proves it. With his help the piano is saved, and inspired by his tiny angel doll, Greta practices furiously for her first recital. Then, on the day of the performance, the Nazis invade Austria. Suddenly Greta discovers her teacher's secret and knows that his life is in danger. Having stood up to her mother, Greta must now confront the Nazis...Maurine Dahlberg's fascinating first novel features an indomitable heroine in an unusual and subtle Holocaust setting.

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About the Author:

Maurine F. Dahlberg, an editor for a Navy research institute, studied piano and plays piccolo and flute in a concert band. She lives in Oak Hill, Virginia.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 5-8-Dahlberg's first novel examines the beginnings of the Holocaust in Vienna through the eyes of a 12-year-old aspiring concert pianist. Greta's father left the family when she was three, and her brother, a promising concert pianist with hemophilia, has recently died. In the shadow of an increasingly dangerous Nazi Germany, Greta lives with her mother, a dress designer working for a Jew. Grieving and worried about finances, the woman ignores her daughter and seems painfully unaware of her musical dreams. Greta is devastated by her mother's plan to sell their piano, until a new neighbor with a mysterious past agrees to give the girl free lessons and convinces her to keep it. When she eventually discovers that her beloved teacher is actually Karl von Engelhart, a renowned pianist who used his fortune to help Jewish artists leave Germany, Greta helps him flee to Prague. Dahlberg re-creates the time and place aptly, touching on the economic climate and recounting the infiltration of Nazism into Austria. Meanwhile, the narrative incorporates the protagonist's worries about not having a best friend and purchasing her first bra, missing her brother, and longing for her mother's attention. While the unusual Holocaust setting is well drawn and rings true, Angel is first and foremost a novel about a girl who pursues a dream and learns to believe in herself.
Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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