Thursday, July 01, 2010

Anna Maria's Gift by Janice Shefelman

What if you could study under the most famous geniuses in music? Anna Maria will promise her dying father to study under a world famous musician. When he dies, Anna Maria is sent to an orphanage in Venice, Italy with one possession, a violin her father made her. The violin is her prized possession and the only reminder of her father. Anna Maria arrives at the orphanage not knowing what to expect. She meets the other girls, meets the teachers, and learns the rituals of the orphanage. The only thing that Anna Maria looks forward to during the day is music class with the famous composer, Antonio Vivaldi. Anna Maria loves music and shines in the class. Paolina, the best violinist before Anna Maria comes, becomes jealous. To get revenge, Paolina throws Anna Maria's violin into the canal. Anna Maria goes on a search through Venice to find her violin, and learns about the magic of Venice along the way.

Janice Shefelman wrote a sweet book with a good message. The message of the story is reiterated at the beginning and the end, the message being to not judge a place or people without getting to know them first. Anna Maria, being the main character does put the message across, but it is mostly the minor characters that give the message. For example, the gondolier gives the message. Many of the minor characters in the book play an important role in the overall outcome of the book. This makes the book more unique. I would recommend this book to beginning readers because it has simple vocabulary, and is easy to follow.

Reviewer Age:15
Reviewer City, State and Country: Brownsburg, Indiana United States of America

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