Thursday, September 3, 2009

Sylvie and the Songman Tim Binding

Sylvie and the Songman by Tim Binding This was beautiful and sometimes creepy, I loved it. 12 yr old Sylvie lives with her dad and their dog, Mr. Jackson. Sylvie's dad is a musician, who invents strange musical instruments. He wants to discover the notes between the notes.

"But what I am trying to do is make music out of those other lost notes - the sounds and music that we've forgotten. There are so many songs that most of us never get to hear. The songs of the sea, the songs of the earth and the most precious of all, the songs of the animals. He had leaned forward, his eyes sparkling. Every animal has a song Sylvie. It's how they talk to each other and the world around them. If only we could get close to it, close to all the other music in this world, think how wonderful it would be." (from arc)

Sylvie's dad isn't the only one who believes in the power of an animals song. All the animals in the zoo except the lion have lost their voice and Mr. Jackson has lost his bark. Sylvie's dad is kidnapped. Sylvie must find her dad and figure out a way to give the animals back their songs. The only person she can trust is her friend George. He is the only non musically inclined person in the story. Though he is an artist when it comes to kites. George spends the night after the kidnapping. The two search the house for clues.

"They searched every other room but found nothing else, except Mr. Jackson's squeaky toy down the back of the sofa and a toenail clipper nestling in the fruit bowl amongst the apples. "That is truly revolting," George said, hold it at arms length. "One trembles to think where the toenails are. Now what?" (from the arc)

The magic and music make this a beautiful read. Sylvie's dad instruments caused an explosion, proving how wonderful and important music is. Sylvie is claimed by a fox. The fox gently bites her, giving the power to hear animals. The two are forever connected. Now to the creepy. I believe a characters creepiness factor is raised by its name. Binding created one that gave me serious chills. The Woodpecker Man. That is such a great name. Even without Angela Barrett's perfect fitting illustrations, a reader can easily visualize the Woodpecker Man.

The Woodpecker Man pointed and the window was covered in woodpeckers, their beaks hammering against the glass. Cracks splintered across the surface. A beak broke through, then another. Soon the whole window would shatter. "Leave us alone!" Sylvie screamed. "Leave us alone!" The Woodpecker Man stared at her, shaking his head, grinning black teeth and pink gums. He leaned back and banged his head hard against the windowpane. A thousand cracks shot across it. He wiggled his long black pointed tongue at her and dangled the triangle in triumph." (from arc)

As scary as the Woodpecker Man is, he's not the main man. Sylvie and George must find The Songman. If they find him, Sylvie can rescue her dad and put everything right. Sylvie and the Songman, was such a pleasure to read. I love it. Its a book that readers will happily and easily lose themselves in. ages 10 up


Charlotte said...

I'll add this to my list--thanks!

Doret said...

Its really good

Unknown said...

I just picked this one up! Hope to get to it before year's end!

Kate Coombs said...

Doret, I liked hearing your take on this. You picked great quotes! Gave me the shivers all over again.

Doret said...

Charlotte and KB if you can put it towards the top of your reading list. Trust me its worth it.

Kate - loved your review as well. Its also nice knowing I wasn't the only one who has discover this lovely book

Charlotte said...

Hi Doret,

Well, I've read it, and just posted my review...I loved lots of it lots, but I have one big gripe.

Which is spoilerish.

The Woodpecker Man and the Drummers were truly fantastic villians. But then the author just abandons them. Who were they? What motivated them? What happened to them? I felt a bit cheated.