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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Mr Horton's Violin
by Wenhua Wang
Age Range: 6-8
Mr Horton has crafted the finest violin from the wood of a music tree. He now needs to find someone worthy of playing it. In fact, Mr Horton is so anxious to ensure that it is the right person that even when the famous conductor Mr Octave visits him he is turned away. Even the richest man in town with his box of gold and Prince Ivan, who wants to borrow the violin for his wedding, are unsuccessful. Then Sireli's gang of 33 thieves learn of the news and decide to kidnap Mr Horton and steal his famous creation. Now who will play Mr Horton's violin?
Taiwanese author Wenhua Wang has created a witty story in the traditional fairy-tale style that is infused with a gentle morality. The greed and arrogance of the adults are demonstrated as they demand the violin, whilst the innocence of a young boy's passion for music ensures he is the only one worthy of playing Mr Horton's exceptional violin. The charming soft pastel shaded, watercolour illustrations by Amann Wang bring the story to life although the format does not always do them justice.
Mr Horton's Violin and its sister publication The Chief Cellist are welcome additions to the UK market especially as there are few children's books translated from Chinese into English.