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the realm of imagination
the realm of imagination
A p r i l 20 1 8
Vol u m e 45
Number 7
COV E R A N D B O R D E R
by Kyle Reed
“Spring Recital”
Digital
Is it time to renew?
shop.cricketmedia.com
1-800-821-0115
Educational Press Association of America
Golden Lamp Award
Distinguished Achievement Award
Academics Choice
Smart Media Award
International Reading Association
Paul A. Witty Short Story Award
1988–1993, 1997, 2003, 2004, 2006,
2007, 2009, 2011–2015
8
8
Kyle was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
And guess what? You’ll still find him there. But
that doesn’t mean he’s never traveled to interesting
places or experienced exciting things. He’s been to
Asia. He’s been on two roller coasters. He’s been on
a third roller coaster. He’s been to Sheridan College,
where he studied illustration. Kyle has taken all
these experiences and more (but not much more)
and focused them into his artwork. Combining
traditional collage, various mixed media, and digital
applications, Kyle creates characters and worlds for
children’s stories and products. He has worked with
various publishers and was also a part of CORE
Digital Pictures’ 2D design team working on Super
Why, the children’s educational cartoon airing on
PBS (USA) and CBC (Canada).
CRICKET ADVISORY BOARD
Marianne Carus Founder
and Editor-in-Chief from 1972–2012
Kieran Egan Professor of Education,
Simon Fraser University, Vancouver
Betsy Hearne Professor, University of
Illinois, Champaign; Critic, Author
Sybille Jagusch Children’s Literature Specialist
Linda Sue Park Author
Katherine Paterson Author
Barbara Scharioth Former Director of the
International Youth Library in Munich, Germany
Anita Silvey Author, Critic
Sandra Stotsky Professor of Education Reform,
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Roger Sutton Editor-in-Chief of
The Horn Book Magazine, Critic
Ann Thwaite Author, Critic
8
PHOTO BY JAMIE LAWSON
CRICKET STAFF
Lonnie Plecha Editor
Anna Lender Associate Art Director
Patrick Murray Designer
Carolyn Digby Conahan Staff Artist
Deborah Vetter Senior Contributing Editor
Julie Peterson Copyeditor
Adrienne Matzen Permissions Specialist
National Magazine Award
finalist in the category of
General Excellence
Society of Midland Authors
Award for Excellence in
Children’s Literature
Parents’ Choice
Gold Award
April 2018, Volume 45, Number 7, © 2018, Carus Publishing dba Cricket Media. All
rights reserved, including right of reproduction in whole or in part, in any form.
View submission guidelines and submit manuscripts online at cricketmag.submittable.com. Please note that we no longer accept unsolicited hard copy submissions. Not
responsible for unsolicited manuscripts or other material. All letters and competition
entries are assumed for publication and become the property of Cricket Media. For
information regarding our privacy policy and compliance with the Children’s Online
Privacy Protection Act, please visit our website at cricketmedia.com/privacy or write to
us at Cricket/COPPA, 70 East Lake Street, Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60601.
continued on page 47
5
11
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22
24
25
32
34
35
40
2
4
12
45
46
48
Rite of Passage by Victoria Marie Lees
Snakes by Sandi Leibowitz
The Kappa and the Farmer by Tim J. Myers
Smooth Sailing by Bonnie Katz
Pick a Pickle by Benjamin Westfried
Night Vision by Stephen Whiteside
Two Violins by Darienne Oaks
The Piano by Roxy Karrer
Cricket Readers Recommend
What It Was Like to Be a Music Prodigy
Ninety Years Ago in Hungary by Kató Havas
Nodi and the Roman by Nell Wright
Letterbox
Cricket Country by Carolyn Digby Conahan
Ugly Bird’s Crossbird Puzzle
Cricket League
Cricket and Ladybug by Carolyn Digby Conahan
Old Cricket Says
cover and contents page art © 2018 by Kyle Reed
THIS ONE’S
FOR YOU.
Hi, Everyone!
Earth Day, April 22, is a day about
taking care of the environment. I can
pick up trash in my neighborhood
and warn people about the bad
effects of driving cars too often.
My birthday may be on Earth Day,
but I think that helping out the
environment and being outside is
more effective than staying inside and
celebrating. I hope people post their ideas
and try these ideas.
Gaby F., age 11
New Jersey
Down to Earth, Chatterbox
HAPPY
EARTHDAY,
BIRTHDAY!
I totally agree with you, Gaby, about the
environment. I wish people would pollute less and
think about what they’re doing to the Earth before
they do it. I try to recycle stuff like yogurt cups. I
rinse things like that and put them in the recycling
bin. Also, don’t take thirty-minute showers. It
wastes a lot of water. Save the Earth!
Caroline
Down to Earth
Unplugging things like electronics when
you’re not using them can save energy. You could
turn down the heat at night or when no one is
home. Also when my family uses plastic forks and
spoons, we wash them to reuse in school lunches
instead of just throwing them away.
On Earth Day, I think I will pick one or two of
the things mentioned on this thread and make a
goal to consistently do them. I could probably do
better at shortening my showers. And I think it
would be awesome to plant something.
Brown Bear
Down to Earth
ANZAC Day
ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand
Army Corps. Each year, we recognize dawn on
April 25 as the moment our soldiers first landed
on the shores and began the bloody battle of Gallipoli. In 1915, over 8,000 young Australians lost
their lives, and thousands more were injured.
2
At dawn, thousands of Australians
and New Zealanders awake. We dress
nice and warm, and by the light of
the moon we travel toward the
nearest dawn service. Former
servicemen and women march
through cities. We sit and listen
as speeches are made, cold mist
evaporating from our lips and warm
cocoa heating our frozen mouths.
While munching on Anzac biscuits, we sit
with our backs tall and straight, listening to the
“last post” peacefully blasting from the lips of the
bugle player. Thousands of citizens, from young
children to the elderly, raise our voices and sing
the national anthems of both Australia and New
Zealand before closing our eyes for one minute of
silence, silence for our brave soldiers who died in
battle those many years ago.
Lilypad
Australia
ANZAC Day, Down to Earth
MEWY YAY!
I love all the seasons for different reasons. I
am very fortunate to live in a place where I get to
experience all of them!
Vyolette
Pollen & Allergies! Chirp at Cricket
Chatterbox
Dear Cricket,
I’ve been getting your mag for almost two
years now and I love it! My favorite stories are
“Between the Pages” (September–November/
December 2017), “Percy Plumb, Cowboy” (March–
April 2017), and “The Forty Thieves” (January–
May/June 2016). I love that one! Thanks for the
awesomeness!
Amelia Roser, age 11
Valparaiso, Indiana
WRITE ON!
I’ve been a CBer for two whole
years and a day now! Cricket’s
Chatterbox has been amazing. I’ve
learned so much about writing
and a whole lot more. Without
this website, I never would’ve
realized how incredible being an
author is. I’d probably still be pursuing herpetology or something . . . not
that that’s a bad thing, it’s just that I never
would’ve unlocked this part of me. Now I really
hope to become a successful author someday.
Thanks to CB, I actually have a chance. I wrote
my first novel here, started my second, and was
inspired to begin my third.
Micearenice
Chirp at Cricket, Chatterbox
Favorite season? I do not have one solid
favorite. Summer. Time for travel, long days spent
outside, away from schoolwork. Summer storms,
huddled with your family, safe. Swimming and
making new friends. I could live without the long,
hot evenings, filled with little stinging vampires
and sweat. I do not find fall particularly enjoyable, aside from the leaves and stuff-yourself-silly
holidays. Too unpredictable and, after the leaves
are gone, too bleak. I love winter. With its cold,
short days burrowed in a warm, comfy snow fort, I
feel like your life slows down. You get time inside,
tucked inside in the world of books, relaxing after
a busy summer. More time with family.
Dear Cricket,
Then spring makes its appearance. You
I like the picture of the white oak tree on the
slip out of the blank mood you didn’t
front cover of the September 2017 issue of
realize you were in and find an MY FAVORITE
Cricket magazine. I like the squirrel sitting
Earth full of new life. A time for
in the white oak tree. My grandfather
SEASON IS WHICH IS
YEARnew beginnings, new creatures,
told me that squirrels like white oak tree
READING
ROUND.
and plants. Overnight, the world
acorns better than red oak acorns. Even
SEASON!
turns green. Plus, just that smell
people think that roasted white oak
of spring—like mud, dirt, and
acorns are sweeter than red oak acorns.
decomposing leaves mixed into
Lawrence Chapman I., age 8
the fresh, clean smell of new life.
Vientiane, Laos
IT’S NOT WRONG TO
LOVE THE INSTRUMENT
YOU PLAY!
Dear Cricket,
I am sixteen years old and have just
started to really read your magazine!
So to all of those older readers out
there: you’re never too old for Cricket!
The only difference is: the older you
are, the more you get out of it!
I am homeschooled, and in my spare
time I make movies—twenty-minute films.
I filmed my first one—a Star Wars remake—on my
fourteenth birthday, and last summer, after a year
of preproduction, I made a film rendition of Jeanne
Birdsall’s novel The Penderwicks. It was filmed in a
week all on location with a cast of twelve. (Just try
keeping twelve kids ages five to sixteen plus their
families and crew in line and you’ll know what it’s
like.) I’m really proud of The Penderwicks. I hope to
be a movie director/producer someday. Last week I
got to watch some filming of what I think they said
was Ant-Man 2. It was so cool!
Annie Powell, age 16
Alpharetta, Georgia
People have been talking about their home
states, but I don’t live in the U.S. Are there any
other TCKs (Third Culture Kids) in the Chatterbox
community? If there are others, then where do you
live? How long have you lived there? What is your
passport country? I’m hoping I’m not the only one!
My parents are from the U.S., but I’ve lived in
Baku my whole life, so I don’t consider myself from
there. I’ve traveled a lot, but I’ve only been to six
countries not counting airports, cuz I have seven
people in my family and it is pretty expensive to fly
places. I do love road trips, though.
Blink, age 13
Baku, Azerbaijan
Any Other TCKs? Down to Earth
p.s . Even if you aren’t a TCK but don’t live in the
U.S., I’d love to hear from you!
Dear Blink,
Chatterbox has at least two readers who live in
Australia. (See page 2.) We also hear from people
China, Germany, Canada, and England. Maybe
they or others will respond to your comment.
Love,
Old Cricket
To Cricket Country:
I am writing to inform you of great news.
One very special buggy has won a prestigious
(GASP!)
award for acting. Everybuggy give a round
THANK YOU, of applause for . . . Pudding! She will
THANK YOU,
no doubt achieve her dream of being
LADIES AND
a famous actress. Congratulations,
GENTLE-BUGS!
Pudding!
Amelia Chief
Los Angeles, California
p.s . Yes, I’ve seen the Hollywood sign.
I hope I don’t seem mean, excluding
other instruments, I just thought that
some other people might play the
violin and would want to talk about
it (like me). You can share the music
you are playing. I am playing music
from Pirates of the Caribbean, School
of Violin Techniques, a French folk song,
Brandenburg Concerto No.3, and recently I
played part of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.
I started violin in elementary school. In middle
school, there is one traditional orchestra, plus a
chamber orchestra and band. I love playing my
violin in orchestra.
Natalie
USA
Violins! Down to Earth
Ooh! I play violin! I love it so much. It’s super
fun. I also play cello and piano, but violin is where
my heart is. I’ve been playing since I was six, and
now I’m working on Corelli’s La Folia.
Abigail S., age 12
Nose in a Book
Violins! Down to Earth
CHIRPS FROM CRICKET’S
LET TERBOX AND CHAT TERBOX
I don’t dance, but I do marching band. It is so
draining, stressful, time consuming, and a heck of
a lot of hard work, but being in band is what I love!
Poetic Panda
Not Sport Activities
Chirp at Cricket
I play the viola, aka the instrument with all the
jokes.
Zen
China
Audition for Orchestra, Chirp at Cricket
Zen, you can substitute almost any other
instrument in most of those jokes. Here’s my
favorite: How do you know there’s a _______
player at your front door? They never know when
to come in!
Love,
Cricket
Here is a thread where you can share awesome, hilarious, or just plain weird quotes or
passages from good books. Please include the title
and author of the book.
Jwyn, age 12
Amber’s Hideout
Favorite Book Quotes, Blab About Books
I’m going to Florida Sate University for an
orchestra camp. FSU has an amazing music program
so it’s kind of a big deal. I’m auditioning, and after the
audition they place you in an orchestra, depending
on your level of playing. I want to shoot for the top
group. Any tips for auditioning? I’m playing BourWE LOVE
rée by Handel.
MAIL, TOO!
Killim
ALL KINDS.
Audition for Orchestra!
Chirp at Cricket
I play cello and I just finished
Suzuki Book 3. Book 4 is really hard.
The first song is four pages long, and it’s
full of weird slurred trills. My friend’s dad
plays the bass, and once when I was at her
house he let me try it out. It was so huge!
Killim, I wish you luck with your audition. I had
to audition for the regional orchestra. It was really
stressful. The best advice would be just to practice
and practice as much as you can, but take a night
off the day before. Then, when you get there, just
relax and play like you would in practice.
The Riddler
Audition for Orchestra!
Chirp at Cricket
Hi, Everybuggy,
Your mag rocks. But I don’t like how so many say
that Ladybug is bossy. She’s perfect just the way she
is. I’m a blogger. I like books like High Hurdles and a
lot of others. I also collect Breyer model horses.
Marly Ann
Charlottesville, Virginia
My favorite thing in the whole
world is the sound of the mail truck
when it comes to my house. I just
love getting mail!
AutumnArtist, age 13
Happiness Challenge
Down to Earth
I’m such a sound sleeper! I can
sleep through anything! One time I
gave myself a black eye while sleeping
and another time I accidentally knocked my
lamp over and slept right through it. But I woke up
my whole family.
One thing that makes me happy . . . talking
with my friends.
Claaws, Class 2020
Rainbows, Happiness Challenge
Down to Earth
Send letters to Cricket’s Letterbox,
P.O. Box 300, Peru, IL 61354, or email us at
cricket@cricketmedia.com. Letters may be edited
for length.
V i s i t t h e C h a t t e r b ox a t :
c r ic ke t ma g k i d s .com /c hat te r b ox
3
HEY! I HIT
THE BALL,
BUT IT
WON’T GO!
IT’S STUCK!
MUST BE
SUPER GLUE ON
YOUR BAT! I
WONDER HOW
THAT HAPPENED?
(HEE HEE)
IT’S APRIL
FOOLS’ DAY!
BETTER BE
ON GUARD
AGAINST
PRANKS!
TATER AND I
PRANKED EACH
OTHER WITH
VANISHING
HOMEWORK—
DISAPPEARING
INK AND
DISINTEGRATING
PAPER! PRETTY
GOOD, RIGHT?
SERVES YOU RIGHT FOR
SWITCHING ALL MY CELLO
MUSIC WITH TUBA SOLOS.
ZOOT DISGUISED HIS VOICE
AND CALLED TO SAY I’D
WON A MOVIE ROLE AS A
NEW HOLLYWOOD SUPERHERO,
“THE ILLUMINATOR.”
(HA HA)
HEE HEE! I’VE
ALWAYS WANTED
TO PRANK
SOMEONE...
VERY
FUNNY!
YOU’RE WAY
TOO NICE,
MUFFIN!
IT WOULD
BE LIKE...
PUSSYWILLOW
PULLING A
PRANK.
HA!
HEY!
YOU NEED
TO BE
DEVIOUS AND
SNEAKY.
IT HELPS
TO HAVE
A LITTLE
MEAN
STREAK.
NOT
MEAN
MEAN.
FUNNY
MEAN.
OH, FUNNY
LIKE
SIGNING ME
UP FOR THE
GLOVE-OFTHE-MONTH
CLUB?
MEWY!
HOW’S THIS:
ZOOT’S
ALMOST
BLIND
WITHOUT HIS
GLASSES, SO
WE COULD...
OH, NO! I WAS
THINKING WE’D
SNEAK IN AND
POLISH THEM
EVERY DAY. HE
WON’T KNOW
WHO’S DOING IT.
IT’LL BE REALLY
FUNNY, RIGHT?
HIDE THEM?
SWITCH THE
PRESCRIPTION?
SMEAR THEM
WITH JELLY SO
THEY’RE ALL
BLURRY? OR...
YOU’LL NEED
LESSONS, IF YOU
WANT TO BE
A PRANKSTER.
LUCKILY, I
HAPPEN TO BE A
PRANKING PRO!
I’LL SHOW YOU HOW
IT’S DONE.
I CAN BE
NOW, NOW,
DEVIOUS! I
THERE’S
COULD DO
NOTHING
PRANKS,
WRONG
IF I
WITH BEING
WANTED!
NICE.
PUSS,
TOO. MEWY
MEAN.
GRRR!
UMMM, NO.
ARE YOU
KIDDING? THAT
WOULD BE
NICE. DUH! TRY
AGAIN.
OK, HOW ABOUT
THIS: YOU KNOW
HOW OLD CRICKET
LIKES TO READ US
STORIES IN THE
LIBRARY? WE
COULD...
UH-OH. RUN
FOR COVER,
EVERYBUGGY.
TAKE TURNS
INTERRUPTING WITH
THE PUNCH LINE OR
EXCITING FINALE! OR
WE COULD ALL PRETEND
TO FALL ASLEEP AND
SNORE!
MEW!
UM, NO,
ACTUALLY I
WAS THINKING
WE COULD
SNEAK A NICE
COMFY CUSHION
ON HIS CHAIR.
HE’LL BE SO
SURPRISED!
NO, THAT’S
NICE!
THINK SLY,
AND TRY
AGAIN!
OK, I GET IT
NOW. HERE’S
ONE FOR YOU:
YOU KNOW
HOW YOU
LIKE TO BAKE
CHOCOLATE
CHIP
COOKIES...?
YOU WANT TO
PRANK ME!? HA!
YOU COULD TRY TO
SWITCH THE RECIPE,
OR WRITE DIFFERENT
INSTRUCTIONS, BUT I’D
NOTICE! I KNOW THAT
RECIPE BY HEART.
I THOUGHT
I’D TIDY ALL
YOUR POTS
AND PANS AND
MEASURES SO
EVERYTHING’S
ORGANIZED
AND EASY TO
FIND.
NO! NO! NO! UGH.
YOU’RE DRIVING ME
CRAZY! I NEED A
BREAK! STAY HERE
AND TRY, JUST
TRY, TO THINK
MEAN THOUGHTS!
MEWY
FUNNY!
MEW?
4
AAARGH!
OH,
DEAR.
I HOPE
WE
DIDN’T
GO TOO
FAR...
MEWY
FUN!
Rite of Passage
by Victoria Marie Lees
I GULPED AS
a huge tree limb raced by
in the current ahead of our canoe in the river.
“Water’s fast, Jude.”
My cousin glanced at the Delaware. “We
can handle it. You scared, Ben?”
Jude sat in the stern of the canoe to steer.
He liked to be in command, and it was his
canoe. The problem was he needed to listen
to the bowman. Me.
Unconsciously, I tightened my life jacket.
Jude’s grin ate away at my confidence, making
the morning’s breakfast flop in my stomach.
“No. The canoe might be harder to control
today, that’s all.”
Illustrated by Sam Ledoyen
text © 2018 by Victoria Marie Lees, art © 2018 by Sam Ledoyen
From years of canoeing, we knew our
strong sides. I paddled right; Jude took the
left. We glided into the sweeping current in
the middle of the river.
Our fathers had dropped us off to canoe
this section of the Delaware River by ourselves, as a rite of passage, since we’d be
starting high school in September. I wasn’t
afraid of canoeing the river with Jude. We’d
been canoeing since we could walk and had
done this section with our dads three times.
Waves scalloped the water from an
uneven rock bed below as the canoe danced
along the river’s surface. We moved fast, water
A RITE OF
PASSAGE
CELEBRATES
ADVANCING
TO AN
IMPORTANT
NEW STAGE OF
LIFE.
5
breaking over the bow and onto my sneakers.
I shivered.
Jude laughed. “It’s going to be a wild ride.”
Laughter didn’t enter my mind. The wild
ride meant that we should work as a team.
I scanned the slabs of rock poking into the
river, looking for tips of sunken boulders in
our path. One jutted above the waves in front
of our canoe. “Need to cut right.”
“I can see, Ben,” Jude shouted back.
“Pull left!”
He could see? I glanced over my shoulder.
Jude was up on one knee to look above me. I
changed grips on the paddle to pull the bow
left. The rock scraped our right side.
What was wrong with Jude? Our fathers
had showed us how the bowman could see
better. Dad put me right up front in the
canoe to learn the water and choose the path.
He taught me never to take my eyes off the
water.
Jude usually canoed by himself on the
lake by his house. When we canoed together
on that flat lake, it was fine to follow Jude’s
orders. But a river like the Delaware demanded
the bowman stay alert.
The river snaked along the border between
Pennsylvania and New York, lined by rugged,
forested banks. Jude barked more commands.
I decided to work with him even if he wouldn’t
cooperate. It was safer.
The morning wore on, sun beating down
on my head as I labored with my cousin to
slip the canoe between rock piles and skirt
the sucking swirls. The swift current carried
us faster and faster downstream, and my
6
adrenaline pumped. Together we cut around
boulders and swells, working on instinct like
we did with our dads. After we cleared our
first battle against the rapids, I sat back and
filled my lungs with fresh air.
“Wahoo!” Jude called from behind me.
“That’s the way it works, Ben.”
A smile tugged at my lips as I turned to
tap paddles. As long as we’re following your
orders, right Jude? I took off my sunglasses
and cupped a handful of river to wash away
sweat from my face.
We pulled up for lunch early at the usual
spot along the bank. A slab of rock jutted out
into the river like a pier.
I climbed out of the canoe and dragged
the bow onto land so Jude could jump out
onto the rock. He pulled out the collapsible
spare paddle from the watertight rubber pack
we’d secured to the canoe, in order to find
the water bottles and sandwiches. I joined
him on the pier. We loosened our life jackets.
“I told you we could handle the water,”
Jude said, taking a bite of his sandwich.
“It’d be more fun if we worked as a team,”
I mumbled. Jude didn’t seem to hear. I took a
slug of water and unwrapped my peanut butter and jelly. “Water’s getting rougher,” I said
more clearly.
“Probably from all the rain earlier in the
week.”
I nodded. “Dad said the river was unpredictable, remember Jude? The only thing we
have is our experience of it.”
“Yeah, and our dads gave us that experience.” Jude jammed his trash into the pack.
I’M NOT SURE JUDE
GETS THE WHOLE
TEAMWORK THING.
WHAT? THEY’RE
DOING FINE.
THE GUNWALE IS THE
TOP EDGE OF THE SIDE
OF THE CANOE.
And they expected us to listen to each
other, I thought. We’re as close as brothers,
Jude. We’re equals. Why can’t you see that?
A breeze had picked up along the
Delaware by the time we pushed off from
the bank. A hint of pine filled the air as we
drifted into the flow of the river.
Skinners Falls rapids came up fast. Rocks
dotted the dark water in the shadows under
the bridge as waves crashed the sides of our
canoe. I tensed and leaned forward in my
seat, muscles on high alert. My heart thudded
in my ears. A cluster of rocks poked out above
the water dead ahead.
“Back-paddle, Jude!” I shouted and
pulled water on the right to turn the bow. It
wasn’t enough. Or maybe my cousin didn’t
back-paddle.
The canoe slammed onto the surface
rocks. I gripped the gunwale to stay in the
canoe. The current pushed the bow forward.
“Ben!”
Jude’s voiced dripped in anger. If he
wouldn’t listen to me, he couldn’t blame
me. No one could control the river. We only
reacted to it. Jude had to understand that.
I fell backward into the canoe and crawled
toward Jude to get the weight off the bow.
The canoe slid from the rocks, and the current
carried us downstream, stern first. Keeping
low, I returned to my seat, took up my paddle,
and pulled right while Jude paddled forward
on the left.
The canoe turned forward.
“The bowman sees better from up front,”
I snapped. “Two-man canoeing’s different
7
FISHTAILING IS WHEN
THE BACK OF THE
CANOE WAGGLES...
from one-man canoeing.” I turned back to
face the river. “And I know what to do.”
“But I’ve been canoeing longer.”
I ignored Jude and sunk my paddle back
into the Delaware. The water tried to rip it from
my hands. All around the canoe, underwater
swells deepened. My mind raced back two years
ago when we canoed with our dads. Another
water surge? They must have released water
from the Rio Dam. My stomach knotted.
Cherry Island split came into view.
“Ben, dig right!” Jude commanded.
“Left!” I pointed. “Read the water! It’s
too deep on the right!”
Rapids erupted to the right side of the
island, big and sloppy. We shouldn’t take that
in a canoe. I turned back for a moment to see
Jude up on one knee again. No time for argument. He wouldn’t listen anyway. My paddle
dug right.
The canoe cut into the white water.
Waves crashed over the bow. Swells bombarded the canoe. We bounced around like
a toy in a washing machine.
“Stay with me, Ben!” I heard Jude yell.
I braced my sneakers against the canoe’s
aluminum sides and struggled to maintain
balance. Gripping the paddle in my hands, I
reached for the water.
The Delaware broke over the bow and
filled the front of the canoe. The watertight
rubber pack bobbed around like a cork on a
string. High water mushroomed beneath the
canoe as I dug in with my paddle. We were
thrown about the river until a deep trench
opened before us.
8
THIS IS QUITE THE HAIRRAISING ADVENTURE!
...LIKE A FISH’S TAIL?
“Left!” I shouted to Jude, and pulled left.
No chance to look back at him as the canoe
banged against submerged rocks. We started
fishtailing, as if there was no weight in the
back.
“What’s going on?” My breath hitched
as I turned to find Jude’s seat empty. I swallowed, hard.
Water spilled into the canoe on all sides.
Alone in the canoe, I fought to keep it steady,
picking my way back to its center. Down on
my knees, bracing them against the hull for
stability, I jabbed at the swells, side to side.
Spray coated my sunglasses, blinding me,
forcing me to yank them off and drop them
by their lanyard against my life jacket.
Water’s too rough, too fast, to pull the
canoe to shore by myself. I chanced a look
behind. Maybe Jude swam to land. I searched
the banks. Nothing but trees. I’m not leaving
you, buddy!
The canoe tilted left. I leaned right, heart
hammering in my chest. I glanced along
the river’s surface. My cousin was about ten
yards back, stuck in a whirlpool. Air finally
returned to my lungs as I took a deep breath.
But Jude needed to break free from spinning or he could drown. I leaned back, arms
out, trying to show him what to do. “Lie
back!”
But Jude struggled.
He had to keep his feet up to avoid
getting them stuck in rock. I grabbed the
gunwale of the canoe, pulled out my leg, raising it up quickly, and pointed at my foot with
the paddle. “Feet up, feet first!”
I’M NOT SURE THIS IS
WHAT THE DADS HAD
IN MIND...
SEE? TEAMWORK PAYS
OFF, AFTER ALL.
Suddenly Jude seemed to get the idea. His
feet popped out of the water; his arms reached
wide, and he floated downstream.
I turned back to the swells ahead of
me, searching for the end of the rapids and
smooth water as waves crashed over the bow.
After thirty yards of bouncing off submerged rock, I paddled out the other end of
Cherry Island with a canoe full of water. I
was never so happy to see the Delaware open
up and iron out.
Exhausted, I labored to bring the barely
floating canoe to the nearest bank and
dumped some water, wedging it on land. I
waded into the shallows with my paddle,
waiting for Jude to appear from behind the
island.
He floated out feet
first, and I began to breathe
easy again. He didn’t have
his paddle. I waved mine.
“Jude!” He looked over and
tried to swim toward me.
I swam into the river
and reached my paddle to
Jude. He latched on, and I
brought him to shore. We
both collapsed into the brush
beside the canoe.
Closing my eyes, I raised
my face toward the sun and
welcomed its warmth on my
aching muscles.
Jude tried to catch his
breath. “A-mazing how you
forget—” He took another
10
TEAMWORK IS FINE AS LONG
AS THE TEAM DOES WHAT I,
ER, THE CAPTAIN SAYS...
breath. “What to do—” Jude swallowed.
“When you’re actually in trouble.”
“Yeah.”
He coughed, expelling some water. “You
were right. Shoulda taken the left.”
I shrugged, trying not to smile. “There
must’ve been another dam release right before
Cherry Island.” I reached for the watertight
pack, untangled it, and dug out the collapsible paddle, handing it to Jude.
He nodded, extending the paddle. “Why
don’t you guide us to the pickup point?”
“I got a better idea. Let’s work as a team.”
Jude smiled and clapped me on the back.
We climbed into the canoe, me in the bow,
my cousin at the stern, and headed downstream.
Snakes
by Sandi Leibowitz
Snakes
slink
link
on
link.
They
don’t
bustle.
They’re
just
muscle
and
swallow.
Don’t
follow.
Illustrated by Carlotta Notaro
text © 2018 by Sandi Leibowitz, art © 2018 by Carlotta Notaro
11
1
2
4
3
5
6
8
7
9
10
12
11
13
14
15
18
17
16
21
20
22
19
24
23
26
25
Solution on page 47
Across
3. Move like a river
4. Baby’s bed
7. The Suwanee River flows across the state of
(abbreviation)
8. Embankment to keep a river from flooding
9. American Medical Association (abbreviation)
11. A fishing pole
12. India’s sacred river
14. Oaks, maples, and pines are
17. The Zambezi River is on the continent of
20. Opposite of question (abbreviation)
21. The piper’s son who stole a pig
22. The Amazon is the second-longest river in the
24. The Hudson River runs through eastern
York
25. The world’s longest river, in Africa
26. A motorist must stop at a stop
Down
1. A woolly animal of South America
1
2
L in Roman numerals
X
2. Fourteen
4
3
5
6
3. “I pledge
F
L allegiance
O W to the C
R ” I
B
8
7
4.F Nearer
L
A
L
E V
E E
9
10
11
River Valley” is a well-known folk
5. “The
A M
A
R O O
S
song
12
13
G A
N G E S
T
6. Good, better,
14
15
T
R E E
S
10. Crawling insect
18
17
19
16
11. Ridges
M of coral atAor near
F the
R surface
I
Cof the
A ocean
21
20
13. The
O Rio
A separates
N S muchTof the
O U.S.
M and
Mexico
24
22
23
W O R
L
D
N
E W WOO-HOO
15. Take
a seat
26
25
N
I
L
E
S
I
G
N
”
16. “The cow jumped over the
O
18. Africa’sOsecond-longest river
MEWY WOOOHOO, TOO!
19. Word that often ends a prayer
fall down”
20. “Ashes, ashes, we
de Janeiro means
23. The name of the city
“River of January”
CATCH ME IF YOU
CAN, UGLY!
12
The
Kappa and
the Farmer
retold by Tim J. Myers
Long ago a
rice farmer named Shiba lived and worked
on land just north of Osaka in Japan.
He led a quiet life, tending his animals and crops.
His fields lay along a river that tumbled down out of the
mountains, and he flooded his rice paddies with its water
every year.
He had a melon patch full of striped green melons. He
had vines thick with cucumbers and their yellow-orange
blossoms. He had a little orchard of nashi trees, whose
round fruit tastes something like apples and something
like pears. And he had a strong, brown horse that he loved.
But Farmer Shiba also had a mysterious neighbor—
for, unknown to him, a kappa had come to live in that
stretch of river.
Kappas are little water creatures of enormous strength.
They look something like small children, though they’re
very slender and their toes and fingers are webbed for
swimming. They live in the depths of rivers and travel
along with the flowing water. But they love to come up
on land at night—especially if they’re hungry.
For kappas, life holds only one great danger. A kappa
must never tilt his head or fall over—because the top of his
head dips in like a bowl, and when he comes out of a river,
this little head-dish must be filled with water. If the water
spills, the kappa gets weaker and weaker and may die.
The kappa in Farmer Shiba’s river was named Dai Hai
Musashi Cho Wan-wan I-Tai-tai. And Dai Kappa was
hungry.
UH-OH!
Illustrated by Seo Kim
text © 2018 by Tim J. Myers, art © 2018 by Seo Kim
BETTER GUARD THAT
BEAUTIFUL GARDEN!
13
Soon Farmer Shiba began to notice that
things were missing. “I had more cucumbers
than this!” he would say, or “Where are the
three melons that were growing near the
house?” or “Where are the ripening nashi I
left in a sack on the porch?” He started waking to every sound in the night, hoping to
catch the thief—but he could never hear the
kappa’s soft, silent feet.
One day the farmer tethered his beloved
brown horse near the river, where the grass
was greenest and thickest. Then he went off
to work his paddies.
But Dai Hai Musashi Cho Wan-wan
I-Tai-tai was watching from beneath the
water. Up he came, bold as you please in the
broad daylight.
“Brown Horse! Brown Horse!” he coaxed.
“Come with me for a life of corn and water
bugs!” Dai Kappa knew he could ride the
brown horse at night to steal from farmers all
over the countryside.
But Horse was uneasy. He whinnied and
tried to pull away. Dai Kappa untied his halter rope and tried to pull him into the river,
assuming the horse could live underwater just
as he could.
Horse didn’t want to go. He stamped his
great feet and stiffened and pulled.
“Oh no, friend Horse!” Dai Kappa said.
“You’re coming with me!” And he wrapped
the rope three times around his wet little
waist so he could pull with his thin, greenish
legs as well as his arms.
This one pulled, that one pulled. Tug, tug,
tug! For the moment, neither was stronger.
LEAVE THAT HORSE ALONE,
YOU NAUGHTY KAPPA!
14
Still, the kappa knew Horse would get tired
sooner or later—and as long as he had water
in his head-dish, he, Dai Hai Musashi Cho
Wan-wan I-Tai-tai, would not!
This one pulled, that one pulled. Tug,
tug, tug! The sun shone down, and the river
flowed—and finally Farmer Shiba came
walking back to his hut to get some kanemaki
for lunch. When he saw the little figure tugging at his horse, he thought it was only a
playful child. But suddenly he realized: the
river, all the stealing—a kappa! He rushed
over, grabbed Horse’s tail and began to pull
back.
This one pulled, and that one pulled.
Tug, tug, tug! But Dai Kappa just laughed.
“You know I’m stronger!” he shouted. “You
two are getting tired already! I can feel it!”
Wa! said Farmer Shiba to himself, I
must do something! Suddenly a plan came
into his head.
“Kappa-san,” he called out politely from
behind Horse, “I must admit it, your strength
is amazing.”
“It’s true!” Dai Kappa crowed.
“I had no idea you kappas were so
powerful.”
Dai Kappa beamed with pride—but he
didn’t stop pulling.
“It’s too bad you aren’t as smart as you are
strong. Don’t you realize you can’t take this
horse into the river with you? It will drown.”
Dai Kappa frowned, though he kept pulling. He didn’t like being insulted—and he
realized he’d never thought about the horse
drowning.
HE IS NAUGHTY, ISN’T HE? BUT
KINDA CUTE. KANEMAKI IS A CRAB
SUSHI ROLL, BY THE WAY.
“I AM smart—and sneaky too!” he called
out. “In fact, I’m the one who stole your melons, and nashi, and cucumbers!”
Farmer Shiba knew this, of course, but
he pretended not to. “Oh, forgive me, Kappakun, but you must be mistaken. I’m not
missing any of those things.” He said kun
because that’s a way of talking to small children, and he knew it would make the kappa
mad.
“Yes, you are!” the kappa shouted, “I took
them! I ate them!”
“But I’m not missing any,” Farmer Shiba
insisted calmly, “so you can’t have stolen
them!”
“I did, I did!” hollered the kappa.
“No, you didn’t,” answered the farmer.
“Did so!”
“Did not.”
“Did so!”
“Did not.”
“AND I SAY I DID!” the little kappa
screamed, stepping to the side so he could see
Farmer Shiba.
But Farmer Shiba didn’t answer. All he
did was shake his head firmly from side to
side—no no no!
And Dai Kappa in his monkey-foolishness
immediately began to nod wildly, up and
down, up and down—and suddenly all the
water sloshed from his head-dish, and he let
go of the rope in surprise, and Horse turned
and ran for home, dragging the dizzy, gasping
kappa along behind it!
All the yelling had alerted Farmer Shiba’s
neighbors, who now came running. Farmer
15
THEY WANT TO
KILL THE KAPPA!?
DE-KAPPATATION!
Shiba chased after the kappa and Horse. Horse
stopped when it reached Farmer Shiba’s hut.
The other farmers soon arrived, all panting.
The kappa, helpless without his water, tried
to stand, reeled about, then collapsed on the
grass. “Please . . . ,” it croaked, “. . . don’t . . .
hurt me. . . .”
“This little demon will steal from all of
us!” Farmer Komo shouted, brandishing his
rice cutter.
“We should kill it!” the others agreed, lifting their hoes and sticks.
“No,” Farmer Shiba said quietly. He was
a good Buddhist and knew it was a sin to kill.
So he gently untied the rope from the little
creature’s waist, lifting him.
“Kappa,” he said, “do you promise to stop
stealing from us? Remember, we depend on
16
I’M GLAD THEY DIDN’T.
HE’S NAUGHTY, BUT
STILL..
I LIKE LITTLE GUYS
WITH SPUNK!
our crops for food—and you can always catch
fish and frogs in the river.”
“I promise,” the kappa said softly.
Then Farmer Shiba took the bamboo
dipper from his water bucket and gently
filled Dai Kappa’s head-dish. Dai Kappa
stood up, still a little wobbly, looked around
at the angry men, then limped off hurriedly
toward the river.
From that day on, the farmers’ melons,
cucumbers, and nashi all ripened safely. And
the farmers slept the long nights away in
peaceful dreams.
And each month, after the night of the
full moon, Farmer Shiba would find on his
porch a pile of fresh fish out of the river,
their silver-blue scales shining in the morning
light—gift from a grateful kappa.
by
bonnie K atz
about!”
Sean turned to look at his father, who was standing
confidently at the helm of his newly purchased sailboat.
The boat was used but in perfect condition, dark blue
with a bright white sail. His dad had named it Smooth
Sailing, which was painted in white lettering on the
side of the boat.
Sean hated that he couldn’t remember all of the
sailing terms his dad tried to teach him. He was afraid
to ask, anticipating his father’s reaction, but pushed
himself anyway. “Which way are we turning?”
He saw his father frown. “We’re coming about,” his
father said sternly. “That means we are turning into the
wind. That way,” his father said after a pause, pointing
to the right side of the boat, his frown deepening.
Illustrated by Michael Paraskevas
text © 2018 by Bonnie Katz, art © 2018 by Michael Paraskevas
17
THE BOOM
IS THE
WOODEN
POLE THAT
STRETCHES
THE
BOTTOM
OF THE
SAIL.
18
Sean tried to think of a way to remember
this so he would not disappoint his father
next time. Like the way he remembered the
difference between port side and starboard
side of the boat. Port had four letters and so
did left, so it was easy to remember that port
was the left side of the boat. But he could
think of no easy way to remember coming
about. He hated that he was always disappointing his father.
Sean ducked as he pulled in the sail and
the boom swung across the deck of the boat
over his head. At least he knew how to do this
correctly. He looked back at his father, hoping
for a smile or nod or some sort of indication
of approval. But his dad was looking up at the
sail, not at him.
Sean had mixed feelings about these sailing outings with his father. Ever since his
parents divorced two years ago, he only got
to see his dad every other weekend. He liked
spending time with his father, but when they
were together, Sean was reminded of how
different he and his dad were. His father was
handsome, confident, and outgoing. Sean
was shy and had few friends. He hadn’t gotten his father’s good looks and he certainly
didn’t have his self-confidence. He enjoyed
being on the boat but at the same time always
felt nervous. He couldn’t stop thinking about
the sailboat race two years ago, when a fierce
storm appeared unexpectedly and capsized
one of the boats. Two experienced sailors fell
overboard and drowned. There was always
the potential for sudden extreme weather out
on the lake.
He looked up at the sky. Just an hour
ago it had been sunny, the water turquoise
blue and sparkling, with just a slight breeze
blowing. He had started to relax. But now
the sky was a menacing gray, clouds were
gathering, and the wind had begun gusting
angrily. Whitecaps were forming on the
water. He tugged nervously on his life jacket
and was once again reminded how different he was from his father, who had been
swimming and sailing his entire life but
never wore a life jacket. He knew his father
was disappointed that Sean was not a better
swimmer and did not share his passion for
being on the water.
“Hey, Sean, can you take the helm for a
minute?” his father asked.
Sean hesitated. He didn’t want to, with
the weather changing, but he also didn’t want
to see that disapproving look on his father’s
face, which had become all too familiar.
“Uh, yeah, sure,” Sean replied. He locked
the sail in place and went back to take the
wheel.
“Just keep her going straight. I’m going
to run up to the bow to check something.”
Sean clutched the wheel tightly and
looked around for other boats. The wind
whipped his hair into his eyes, and he had
trouble seeing. But he did not want to risk
taking one of his hands off the wheel to brush
it back. He looked toward the bow for his
father, but the sail blocked his view.
Suddenly, the wind shifted direction,
catching him off guard. The boat heeled
so sharply on its side, spraying water in his
face, that it felt like it might capsize. Sean
knew he had to let some air out of the sail to
help right the boat, but in order to do that,
he would have to let go of the wheel for a
moment. His heart was pounding in his ears.
Where was his father?
The boat began to heel even more. “Dad!”
he called, but the wind swallowed his voice.
19
Sean knew he had to act fast. He kept
hold of the wheel with his left hand and
stretched forward with his right, reaching
for the mainsail line, trying to dislodge it
from its locked position. After a few yanks,
it finally came loose, and he was able to
let the air out of the sail. The boat quickly
righted itself.
Sean let out a sigh of relief, then looked
around the flapping sail for his father. He
didn’t see him anywhere. “Dad!” he yelled
frantically, but there was no sign of his
father. He looked out at the huge waves
crashing against the boat. There was nothing but water as far as he could see.
Then he saw it—just a flash of something in the water, about thirty feet from
the boat. But then a huge wave crashed,
and whatever it was disappeared. Then he
saw it again. It was his dad! Another wave
crashed over his dad’s head, and once more
Sean lost sight of him. A few moments
later his dad’s head popped up again, and
he tried to wave at Sean. He must be hurt,
Sean thought, or he’d be able to swim over
to the boat.
Sean had to think fast. How could he
get his dad back into the boat? Then he
had an idea. As the boat rocked back and
forth violently, he reached under the seat
for the rope he knew his dad kept there—
the rope his father had used trying to teach
Sean dozens of sailing knots that he could
never remember. Sean knew the most
important one was the bowline knot, and
he needed that now to save his father.
20
A MNEMONIC IS LIKE A SILLY RHYME
OR SAYING OR OTHER TRICK FOR
REMEMBERING SOMETHING.
He pulled the rope into a loop large
enough to go over his dad’s shoulders as
he thought back to the silly mnemonic his
dad had taught him to remember how to
tie the knot. “The rabbit comes out of its
hole, runs around the tree, and goes back
down the hole,” Sean recited, forming the
knot and pulling it tight. He quickly tied
the other end onto the boat with the same
knot, then threw the loop end to his dad.
His first throw wasn’t far enough, so
he hauled the rope back in and heaved it
again. This time it landed just a few feet
from his dad, who was able to reach out
and grab it. Sean watched as his dad, using
only one arm, struggled to pull the loop
over his head and under his shoulders. Sean
then used all his strength to pull his dad
slowly toward the boat.
When his dad finally drew near, the
water settled down a little, and it was not
quite as rough. As Sean helped his dad
climb back into the boat, he saw that his
father’s right arm was clearly broken.
“You saved my life, son,” his dad said.
He lifted the rope over his head with his
left hand and fingered the knot. “Nice
bowline,” he said smiling, looking Sean
right in the eyes.
Sean felt a rush of relief and pride. But
he knew there was more to do and stepped
quickly to take the wheel. He had to get his
dad to the hospital, and to reach shore they
were going to have to change direction. He
looked at his dad from the helm, smiled, and
called, “Prepare to come about!”
I WONDER IF DAD
WILL WEAR A LIFE
JACKET NOW.
I ALWAYS WEAR
A LIFE JACKET,
ESPECIALLY IN THE
WATER!
21
L O N G A G O , I N the unhappy village of Chelm, there
Pick a
Pickle
A Yiddish Folk Tale
Retold by Benjamin Westfried
22
lived a wise, old rabbi. All the Chelmites were unhappy because
they thought their neighbors had better lives then they. So, day
and night, the envious townsfolk would set upon their rabbi to
kvetch—that is, bellyache; that is, gripe; that is, complain—
about their lot. Before the rabbi could even raise a spoonful of
breakfast to his lips, the baker would burst into his house for a
morning’s kvetch.
“They say my bagels aren’t crispy! Of course, my bagels
aren’t crispy! I know my bagels aren’t crispy! Tell me, Rabbi,
how can I make crispy bagels when all I’ve got is a hundredyear-old oven that’s really an icebox! The czar’s heart is warmer
than my oven! And how can I afford a new oven when nobody
buys my bagels? You see the pickle I’m in? A schoolteacher I
should have been. Schoolteachers don’t have such headaches.”
No sooner would the baker stomp out the door when in
would march the butcher. “My customers do nothing but
kvetch. Kvetch! Kvetch! Kvetch! ‘This chicken’s too fat! This
meat’s too tough! Not fresh! Too dry! Too juicy!’ Oy vay!
They’re driving me crazy, Rabbi! ‘Be a bookkeeper,’ my dear
mother—may her name be a blessing—told me. A bookkeeper.
But did I listen? Nooooo. Now look at this pickle I’m in!”
Illustrated by Mar ylin Hafner
SOME BUGGIES DO NOTHING
BUT KVETCH, KVETCH,
KVETCH!
OY VAY! STOP
COMPLAINING!
TZITZITH ARE
THE FRINGES OF A
PRAYER SHAWL.
PAYES ARE LONG
CURLS WORN IN
FRONT OF THE EARS.
And after the butcher kvetched, the tailor
kvetched, then the shoemaker kvetched, then the
milkman kvetched, until everyone in town had
kvetched to the poor rabbi. It was more than a person could stand. Something had to be done. And
something was.
Early one brisk autumn morning, just after the
High Holidays, the rabbi marched to the village
square, where he posted a huge sign that read: ALL
CITIZENS OF CHELM WILL GATHER HERE
AT NOON. BRING A BIG GREEN PICKLE.
“A pickle? Has the rabbi lost his senses?” asked
the butcher.
“Why do you suppose he wants us to bring
pickles?” asked the baker, scratching his head.
“Well, you can count me out,” declared the milkman. “Who’s got time for such foolishness?”
“I’m not going, either,” protested the tailor.
“Maybe the rabbi has time to fritter away, but I don’t.
Some of us have to work for a living.”
To hear the townsfolk talking, one might have
thought the rabbi would be the only person to show
up! But, in fact, all of Chelm was there at twelve
sharp with a big, green pickle. Really, now, who
would’ve missed such a thing?
The rabbi stood motionless in the middle of the
square, only the tzitzith by his sides and the tips of
his wispy payes fluttering gently in the breeze. The
townsfolk gathered sheepishly before the wise, old
man.
After a long, awkward silence, the rabbi finally
spoke. “I want you all to put your pickles down by
your feet!”
After considerable mumbling and grumbling and
shuffling and head scratching, the Chelmites put
their pickles down by their feet.
23
NACHES ARE JOYS!
TSURIS ARE SORROWS.
When silence had settled back in, the
rabbi spoke once again. “Imagine that everything you are is in your pickle. All your
naches and tsuris are in your pickle. Your wisdom and your foolishness are in your pickle.
Your blessings and your curses are in your
pickle. Your talents and your flaws are in
your pickle. If you don’t like your pickle,
no big deal: pick someone else’s. Go ahead
and choose.”
And, with that pronouncement, all the
citizens now had the overwhelming task of
deciding whose pickle they wanted. The baker’s
eye immediately fell on the schoolteacher’s
pickle. The schoolteacher’s eye shot over to
the tailor’s. Every eye examined every pickle
in town.
To this day, it isn’t clear who chose first.
Some say the baker, some the milkman, but
one thing is absolutely certain: when it was
over, the townspeople of Chelm—all the men,
women, boys, and girls—had taken back their
very own pickles.
Since that day, whenever a Chelmite
approached the rabbi to kvetch, though not
many of them did, the rabbi would simply
say, “It’s your pickle; you picked it,” and that
would be the end of that.
Night Vision
by Stephen Whiteside
I wear my glasses when I sleep.
I know it sounds absurd.
Otherwise
(I tell no lies)
My dreams are very blurred!
24
Illustrated by Mark Brewer
art © 2018 by Mark Brewer
THE FAMILY HAD to escape. In no
time his father, a violinmaker, had securely
strapped a violin in its case to Moshe’s back
and carried another in the same way. Moshe’s
mom held the baby while his father took his
little brother by the hand and led them away
from the town. They brought some food
and water and ran without speaking into the
cold black of the forest, leaving everything
else behind. Sparks spat high into the starless
night, and people nearby screamed. The
troops had arrived.
Moshe heard angry male voices shouting
and dogs barking. When he was a toddler, a
German shepherd had bitten him on the face.
The barking so close by terrified him. He
grazed a tree trunk and fell, scraping the case
on his back. Scrambling to his feet, unsure of
his direction in the darkness, he bolted from
the dogs’ howling. His hands steadied the
violin case against his body to prevent it from
banging against his spine. Deep in the silence
of his rib cage, his pounding heart cried,
“Mom! Dad!” But they were not there.
Two Violins
Illustrated by Yevgenia Nayberg
text © 2018 by Darienne Oaks, art © 2018 by Yevgenia Nayberg
by Darienne Oaks
25
THE
CANOPY
IS THE
TOP
LAYER
OF THE
FOREST
OH, I
THOUGHT...
26
At last the sounds of the men and dogs
faded. Desperate to find his family, Moshe
walked until dawn and collapsed on the forest
floor. With his head against the violin case,
he closed his eyes for a few minutes of rest.
Each day the violin case grew heavier. Its
thin straps dug into his shoulders. His food
and water were gone. The sounds of the forest scared him, keeping him awake as he lay
all alone, curled up against tree trunks. His
stomach fought with him, and his tongue was
desert dry. Sleep refused to come. Each night
he trembled until exhaustion overcame him.
When big cold drops of rain pelted him,
he opened his mouth to the sky, drank, then
held out his water bottle, hoping to fill it. He
sat and shivered beneath the canopy of a large
tree. Mushrooms grew under its thick roots
and his fingers tore at them. He ripped them
from the earth, stuffed them into his mouth,
chewed and swallowed them.
After the rain stopped he stood up,
walked away. Light-headed and dizzy, he fell
onto his knees, threw up, whimpered for his
mother, threw up again, passed out.
A soft, saliva-coated tongue slapped his
cheek, a cold nose explored. His eyes popped
open. A big white dog leaned over him.
Frantic, he rolled away, sprang to his feet. The
dog lumbered behind, barking. He tripped
over a tree root. Something snapped in his
leg, sprawled him face flat on the ground. A
sharp pain tore up his leg. Moshe screamed in
agony. The dog nuzzled his neck, nosed him,
bounded away.
Soon there were sounds of the dog barking and a woman’s voice saying something in
a language Moshe did not understand. When
she came up to him with the dog at her side,
she spoke softly, reached out a hand, touched
his face. Moshe, hurting, eased back his head,
afraid. Her light fingertips tapped his injured
leg. She put her arms under his shoulders,
helped him stand on one leg. His bad leg
dangled. With one of his arms around the
woman’s neck, her arm around his waist, she
held tight as he hopped on his good leg.
They passed the violin case. Moshe
pointed to it. She picked it up, tied it across
the dog’s broad body, knotting it to the oversized collar, and led him to a house at the
edge of the glen. Inside she helped him lie
down on a couch, lifted up his bad leg, which
made him yell with pain. She soon returned
with a piece of homemade bread and a steaming bowl of soup that smelled a little like soup
his mother had made. The violin was safe,
but his leg was broken.
A heavy-set man entered the room with
rags and bandages. After bandaging the leg,
he placed two long, narrow strips of wood
on either side and used the rags to tie them
together. Moshe could not go to the toilet, so
he used the bucket the woman left for him by
the couch when he had need for it. Each day
she emptied and cleaned it for him.
He missed his family. So he took the
violin from its case and tried to play the folk
tunes like his father had played each eve-
ning. When his father offered him one of
his violins, Moshe had refused it. He didn’t
believe he could ever play the violin as well
as his father, even though he loved its sound.
It wasn’t easy to draw the bow across
the strings while half lying, half sitting on the
couch. The violin screeched, chasing the dog
out of the room. So instead of bowing, Moshe
plucked on the strings with his fingers, trying
to find the notes of the music he remembered.
Once he found the notes, he strung them
together into tunes. Sometimes when he
fingered out a tune, the dog yapped and the
woman danced, a broad smile on her face.
When he first arrived, Moshe and the
woman had communicated through practical
gestures. One day the woman had pointed to
27
THE SIX-POINTED STAR, CALLED THE STAR
OF DAVID, IS A SYMBOL OF JUDAISM.
the tiny, hard-to-see inlaid Star of David on
the back of the violin. Then she pointed to
him, a questioning look on her face. He nodded yes. She put an index finger on her lips,
Shh! Moshe pointed to the Star of David and
then to her. She shook her head no.
When he could clump around, he began
using the bow and practiced for hours on end,
learning how to make the violin sing. The
woman listened with an expression of tenderness on her face, while the dog sat at his feet,
head cocked sideways, looking up at him.
Moshe discovered he could imitate the music
of the musicians who gathered each Friday in
the village square. His ear for music helped
him learn the woman’s language. She spoke
Romanian. He spoke Yiddish.
28
A day came when one of the musicians
from the village knocked on the woman’s
door. They had heard someone playing violin
in the house and they needed a violin player.
The woman explained it was her young
cousin who was staying with her while his
parents traveled. Now able to walk, Moshe
joined them.
The kind woman learned he had lost his
family in the woods. Although grateful to her,
he ached for his family and started to make
secret preparations to leave. But one Friday
evening, a big car pulled into the square. A
tall, mustached man in high black boots,
wearing a dull green uniform with white
markings on the collar tabs and shoulders, got
out of the car to listen to the musicians. When
A SHTETLE WAS A SMALL JEWISH
VILLAGE IN EASTERN EUROPE.
they had finished, he pointed to Moshe and
indicated he wanted the boy to get into the car
with his violin. The woman nodded her head
for him to go, her serious eyes telling him to be
careful. His insides shook.
For several weeks, the big car came in the
evenings to retrieve him to play for the commander and his wife while they ate dinner.
The commander’s wife, who had no children
of her own, liked him and wanted to know
his name. He replied, “David.” The kind
woman had instructed him never to say his
true name. Pointing to the Star of David on
his violin, she had declared his new name to
be David.
The wife gave him delicious leftovers from
the dinners, and sheet music for pieces by
Ludwig van Beethoven she wanted him to play
for her. No one else in the village had such
food. Moshe shared the leftovers. The sheets of
music made no sense to him, but the musicians
helped him learn how to read them.
One evening the commander was no
longer there. The rooms were filled with
crates and suitcases. His wife asked Moshe
to play while she ate dinner. After she finished,
she asked to look at the violin. Moshe had
no choice but to hand it to her. She cradled
it in her hands, turned it over with care, and
stopped. She stared at the back of the violin
for what seemed a long time. Her blue eyes
softened. She whispered, “This is a beautiful
violin, and your playing is exquisite. Keep
it safe.”
“I will,” Moshe answered. He knew he
must leave.
The next day he rose before the woman,
left a short note on the kitchen table,
strapped on the violin, took a small sack
of food and water, and tiptoed out of the
woman’s house, careful not to wake the dog.
He intended to go back to his shtetl to find
his family.
When he entered the forest, he walked
toward the rising sun, having determined
his shtetl lay somewhere to the east. Moshe
hadn’t gotten very far when a great crashing
came through the woods. In the next moment
the woman’s dog burst through the trees,
barking. He sprang up and put his paws on
Moshe’s chest, then grabbed a strap on his
violin case and tugged, making Moshe wonder if the woman was all right. They ran back
to the woman’s house.
Moshe intended to stay out of sight,
anxious there might have been trouble in
the village. But when he neared the woman’s
home, he realized everyone was shouting,
laughing, kissing and hugging. Word had
reached the village that the Germans were
going to surrender.
Moshe did not know if his family was
alive. The International Red Cross had no
answers but contacted Aliyat Hanoar, a children’s immigration organization, which sent
a man who spoke Yiddish to the village. This
man told him thousands of Jews were being
taken by boat to a place called Palestine,
where he would have a good chance of finding family or relatives. In tears, the woman
hugged him, told him to go. “If you do not
find your family, come back and be my son.”
29
His mother, the baby, and his brother
had not survived the war. The family had
been caught in the woods and sent to a
concentration camp. Forced to play his
violin in the camp orchestra, his father had
managed to survive until the camp was liberated. He thought Moshe had been killed
in the forest and he had come to Palestine
to build a new life.
In the coming years, father and son
labored together at the shop’s long workbench. The two lifesaving violins hung in a
place of honor on the wall. Moshe learned to
craft his father’s beautiful violins. The shop’s
reputation grew. Great musicians came to
buy the violins with the inlaid Star of David.
The violins brightened hearts around the
world. Their songs were full of light and
hope and love.
The boat sailed for several days. Most of
the passengers were children. Rough-water days
made him sick. To pass the time, he played his
violin. A member of the crew, who also played
the violin, befriended him, asked if he could
try the violin. When he saw the Star of David,
he asked, “Who made your violin?”
“My father.”
“There is a Jewish violinmaker in
Palestine.”
Moshe’s heart leapt. After the boat
docked, the man brought him to the violinmaker’s ramshackle shop and knocked on
the door. A thin man, bent by life, opened
it. After a stunned silence, he pulled the boy
close, sobbed, buried him in his loving arms.
Moshe didn’t remember ever feeling so good.
30
Making a Violin
In a violin workshop, like that of Moshe and his
father in my fictional story, you would see a long
workbench, tools—and somewhere a careful stack
of raw maple and spruce, cut in thick, rectangular
slabs, or billets, aged for years away from the rain
and sun, waiting to be turned into violins. Moshe
would learn from his father how to pick up a billet
by its corner and tap it with his knuckles, to hear if
the piece of wood rang loud and clear with a rather
high tone. If it wasn’t aged properly or didn’t ring in
the right way, the wood would be used for something other than a violin.
The maple wood used in making the back,
ribs, neck, and scroll of a violin, and the spruce for
AUTHOR’S NOTE This story was inspired by a project called Violins
of Hope. A violinmaker named Amnon Weinstein has spent the last two
decades locating and restoring violins that were played by Jewish musicians
during the Holocaust—when millions of Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps during World War II.
In this collection there is a violin crafted in 1924, before the war, by one
of the first Jewish violinmakers, Yaakov Zimmerman. His violin has a beautiful
Star of David inlaid on the back. While I listened to it being played, Moshe’s
story rose in my mind. I thought about the concentration camps and the
camp orchestras the Nazis created from the many talented musicians they
found among their Jewish prisoners. While others marched immediately to
their deaths, a violinist might, for a time, be spared to entertain camp officials or to accompany executions and other brutal camp events with music.
Trainloads of exhausted, terrified new arrivals were sometimes stunned to be
greeted by a large orchestra, the beautiful music intended to keep them calm
and orderly, filled with the false hope that they had not come to an evil place,
as they were secretly being led to the gas chambers.
The violins in this collection are now being played by master violinists
around the world.
the belly or front, would have come from Europe,
Canada, or America. Ebony from India, Sri Lanka,
Indonesia, or West Africa would go into making the
fingerboard and tailpiece. Between one hundred
fifty and two hundred horsehairs from white stallions in Mongolia, Siberia, or Canada—where the
hair grows stronger than from horses in warm,
humid climates—would be used to string the bow,
which Moshe would carve out of pernambuco
wood from Brazil. Mother of pearl from the South
Seas, and ivory and silver or gold from Africa,
would also be used in making the bow.
The design of the violin hasn’t changed for over
five hundred years. In the 1500s an instrument maker
named Andrea Amati, who lived in Cremona, Italy,
One of the Violins of Hope
was paid by a wealthy family, the Medici, to make an
instrument that was as melodious as the lyre, a string
instrument used by the Greeks, but lighter and easier
to carry. Amati’s design, with a few tweaks by the
masters who studied with him, is still used.
Handmade violins can last hundreds of years
if they are cared for and played. The wood of the
violin needs the vibrations from the bow drawing
across the strings to mellow, and sounds better
and better with age. If a violin isn’t played, it sort
of goes to sleep and stops sounding so good. The
master violinmakers, who enjoyed the patronage of
kings and dukes, made their violins for very good
players, knowing they would be taken care of and
passed down through the generations.
31
the elegant grand piano
stands resplendent in the parlor
it is a dormant creature
a simple touch brings it to life
lift the polished ebony cover
expose the yellowing ivory keys
that resemble gleaming teeth
they grin
stretch for the pedals
position hands with poise
begin
fingers fly across the grinning mouth
touches as soft as hummingbird feathers
then hard as stone
sharp notes pierce the mind
light and sweet chords follow
they vibrate through your skull
hum in your ears
eyes closed in concentration
head swaying to the rhythmic pulsation
of fingers pressing keys
peer at the black script of notes
lining the music
like a secret language
you’ve learned to decipher
sharp, then flat
D major, C minor
individual notes and chords blend
into a beautiful concoction of sound
sonatas, preludes
all are vehicles for the glorious melody
of a grand piano
32
once the grandiose instrument
has ensnared you with its timeless allure
you are hesitant
to cover the black and white smile
but you tear yourself away
grab the red velvet covering
slide it over the endless row of keys
the grin of a Cheshire cat lingers
it follows you out of the room
Illustrated by Sawsan Chalabi
text © 2018 by Roxy Karrer, art © 2018 by Sawsan Chalabi
33
I’VE GOT
SOME MORE
READER
SUGGESTIONS
FOR YOU.
O u t l aw s o f T i m e : T h e L e ge n d
o f S a m M i r ac l e
by N. D. Wilson
Do you like outlaws? Magic? Then
try this. Ever since
Sam Miracle got
in a “car crash,”
he can’t bend his
arms and now
lives at a ranch for
destitute youth in Arizona. After he
and Glory (the camp director’s daughter) are killed, they are brought back
to life by a priest, Father Tiempo, and
everything changes. Together, Sam
and Glory fight the evil El Buitre with
Time on their side to save the world
from him.
Henry Heerema, age 10
Las Cruces, New Mexico
B e t te r N a te
T h a n Eve r
by Tim Federle
I read a book
about a boy named
Nathan (Nate) going
to New York City to
perform in E.T.: The
Musical. (It is not real, so don’t start
buying tickets.) He plans his escape
from home with his best friend, Libby.
34
GREAT!
ADD THEM
TO THE
PILE.
SHOULDN’T WE
PUT THEM ON
THE SHELVES?
WE HAVE
TO READ
THEM
FIRST!
I enjoyed this book so much, and . . .
there is a sequel! I am so going to read
it!
a living. A girl
who calls herself
Esma the Queen
of Lightning soon
becomes destined
to be Teo’s lifelong
friend. Will their
friendship last?
Broadway, age 9
Worcester, Massachusetts
Wo n d e r
by R. J. Palacio
Ten-year-old
August Pullman
was born with
extreme facial deformities that prevented him from
going to an actual
school, until now. He starts fifth grade
and struggles to be seen just as another
student. A number-one New York
Times bestseller, this book teaches not
to judge a book by its cover. It is really
and truly a wonderful book. Read it.
Abigail J., age 11
New Jersey
The Lightning Queen
by Laura Resau
The Lightning Queen is a grand book
set in Mexico. It tells the story of
Teo growing up in the Hill of Dust,
where there is nothing to do. Then
the Gypsies come to town. A traveling caravan of performers, the Gypsies
show movies and tell fortunes to make
YAY!
WE
GET MORE
EVERY DAY!
WE’LL NEVER
FINISH THEM
ALL.
Audrey M., age 10
Duluth, Minnesota
T i m e St o p s f o r N o M o u s e (A
H e r m u x Ta n t a m o q Ad ve n t u re)
by Michael Hoeye
Time Stops for No Mouse has amazingly
complex characters, featuring Hermux
Tantamoq, a watchmaker, and his pet
ladybug, Terfle. This is Hermux’s first
epic mystery, in which he encounters
a mysterious customer named Linka
Perflinger. When she
drops off her watch
and never returns
for it, Hermux goes
on a search to find
out what happened
to her. Will Hermux
survive the dangerous Tucka Mertslin
and the evil doctor who he meets
along the way?
Myla S. S., age 9
Hopewell, New Jersey
Do you have a favorite book? Email your review (75 words or less) to cricket@cricketmagkids.com or mail to
Cricket Readers Recommend, P.O. Box 300, Peru, IL 61354. Please include your name, age, and address.
Visit Cricket Readers Recommend online at www.cricketmagkids/books
or Blab About Books at www.cricketmagkids.com/chatterbox.
What It Was Like to Be
a Music Prodigy Ninety Years
Ago in Hungary
by
Kató Havas
I W A S B O R N in Transylvania, the
country Dracula comes from. When I was
five years old, I saw my grown-up cousin
Laci in his glamorous uniform playing
the violin with an army band in
the main square in my town.
I remember how the music
enchanted me as his fingers
danced over the fingerboard
and his bow flew back and forth
on the strings. It was then that
I decided I wanted to play the
violin more than anything else
in the world, but nobody took me
seriously. To keep me quiet, I was given
a little toy piano, but it had no strings and
no bow and it made an ugly tinkling sound.
I hated it and threw it down on the floor and
stepped on it. Then I was given a toy violin,
but it had cotton strings instead of proper ones
and it didn’t sing. I broke that, too.
Finally, I was given a tiny eighth-size
violin with real strings and a real little bow,
and Laci gave me my first lesson. I remember how, before his next visit, I studiously
practiced all the movements he had shown
me—but they were all wrong! He had
thought my longing to play the violin was
Illustrated by Helen Cogancherr y
a huge joke, a passing phase. Little girls
didn’t play the violin ninety years ago in
Transylvania. To this day I remember my
rage when he laughed at my efforts. He
was a tall fellow, and I could only
reach up to his belt, but I beat him
there with both fists. My parents
finally arranged for me to have
proper violin lessons with a real
instructor, and I entered a magical world. I adored my teacher
and lived from lesson to lesson. I
even learned to count, using musical notation instead of numbers, and
I learned to read music before I could
read words.
My teacher and I made up a story around
each piece I played. I remember one piece
that was about a spider weaving a web. The
music was very fast, but I didn’t notice how
difficult it was since I was too busy imagining the spider weaving his web. In one
passage the web was destroyed, and the spider wept. People were surprised that a child
my age could play with so much expression,
but I played like that because I was sorry for
the spider. At the end of the piece, he wove
another web, and all was well.
TRANSYLVANIA IS A REGION IN
TODAY’S CENTRAL ROMANIA THAT
WAS ONCE PART OF HUNGARY.
HUNGARY
FOR BLOOOOD!
HEH-HEH-HEH.
35
HERE, CONSERVATORY
MEANS MUSIC SCHOOL.
My teacher also gave me a little patch
of her garden, along with a small fork and
trowel, and after each violin lesson she would
teach me how to care for it. I loved that
because my family had no garden at home.
To this day, music and gardens are strongly
connected for me.
I soon entered the local conservatory,
where I seemed to have advanced so rapidly
that by the time I was seven years old I gave
my first solo recital. It was to be a full-length
evening recital in the largest concert hall in
town. I remember how excited I was about
the pink taffeta dress that was specially made
for the occasion and I wore a huge bow
pinned in my hair, as was the custom then.
As the day of the concert grew near, the
whole town was talking about it. I remember the bliss of anticipation as I stepped out
onstage with the pianist behind me. The hall
was full, and the audience seemed as excited
as I was. I had been told to ignore them and
just imagine they were rows of cabbages, but
I couldn’t for the world understand why I
should think of them as cabbages when they
looked so nice and festive. I could hardly
wait to play for them with my little violin.
My teacher told me that whatever happened, even if I made a mistake, I was to
keep playing. In fact, the lights went out for
a short period (there must have been a power
cut), but since I knew all the pieces by heart
and had been told to go on playing no matter
what, I played on in the dark. I could hear
my pianist behind me gasping, “Oh my God,
oh my God,” as I continued to perform.
ÉTUDES ARE MUSICAL STUDIES,
OR COMPOSITIONS, USED TO
PRACTICE TECHNIQUE.
Shortly after that concert, a famous violinist came to our town to give a recital in
the same hall, and my teachers arranged for
me to play for him. I remember that when I
finished playing, he patted me on the head
and unearthed a box of chocolates from the
depths of his suitcase. The result of all this
was that, as soon as my father had arranged
his financial affairs, my family and I moved
to Budapest, the capital of Hungary.
I was nine years old when I first stepped
through the hallowed portals of the famous
Hungarian Royal Academy of Music on a
scholarship as the youngest student there.
Then my training began in earnest. No concessions were made by my professor for my
age; I had to play the same scales, études,
and finger exercises as all my fellow students,
who were ten years older than I. I had to
attend two four-hour master classes a week
and two preparatory lessons with Klari, a
young woman who was my professor’s assistant and who became my friend. I also had
chamber music classes, piano lessons, and
attended music history lectures. Then there
was music theory, and, on top of it all, I also
had to practice five hours a day. As outdoor
exercise, I had to go skating in the winter and
swimming in the summer. I had to get up
early every day to exercise, and there was not
a minute of free time until I went to sleep at
night. There was no longer any time for stories or for gardening. My professor arranged
for me to attend a private school on a scholarship, with the understanding that I only went
twice a week, when I had no lessons at the
MASTER CLASSES ARE TAUGHT BY
DISTINGUISHED PROFESSIONALS FOR
ADVANCED STUDENTS.
36
SOIREES, PRONOUNCED SWAH-RAYS,
ARE EVENING PARTIES.
Academy. Sundays were free, and summer
holidays were free from lessons, but I still had
to practice every day.
At first I was very pleased at my grownup status. My professor was an important
man with an international reputation, and
I wanted to please him with all my might. I
both revered and feared him.
I was soon discovered by the rich music
lovers in Budapest. They showered me with
presents, gave lavish parties on my birthdays,
and arranged elegant soirees where I played
to distinguished audiences.
But as I grew, my little violin was replaced
by larger and larger instruments, and more
and more was expected of me. I began to
worry that perhaps I wasn’t going to be good
enough and would disappoint all the people
who believed in me. That worry grew, and I
began to stop looking forward to my performances. On performance days, since I didn’t
THE DANUBE IS A FAMOUS RIVER IN
CENTRAL AND SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE.
have to attend classes and only had to practice
for an hour or two, I read fairy stories to take
my mind off my anxieties.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was an
elderly gypsy violinist, the leader of his band,
who changed the whole course of my adult life.
He lived by the Danube, in a village where I
used to spend my summer holidays. After the
fearful, strict, and competitive atmosphere at
the Academy—where making a mistake was a
cardinal sin, where achievement was the goal—
it was a revelation for me to hear him play so
freely and happily, night after night, in the
restaurant close to our house. I remember his
dark, shiny face and large, fiery eyes. I can still
see his smile, his eyes lighting up with pleasure
as his violin sang and as he played devilishly
difficult bravura passages with the greatest of
ease. I didn’t know it then, but I was witnessing perfect artistic communication. I longed
to play like him.
The freedom in the way he played (how
he held the violin and the bow, how he
caressed the strings with his left hand) was
quite different from the way we classical
violinists were trained. The gypsy style of
playing was frowned on at the Academy, but
in those days the gypsy band was an integral
part of a village’s community. They played at
weddings, funerals, and harvest festivals, and
their cigányprímás was held in great esteem.
On the other hand, the wandering vagabond
gypsy violinists were considered a dirty nuisance
because of their begging and were not to be
trusted. I didn’t care which kind of gypsies
they were; I was determined to play the violin
the way they did.
I was about twelve years old when my
wish was fulfilled and Klari, my professor’s
young assistant, invited me to spend the summer holidays with her family on their country
estate on the Puszta, the Hungarian prairie,
famous for its horse breeding and riding.
She had a younger brother, Andras, who was
about my age, and he and I soon became fast
friends. My practicing was reduced to two
hours a day under Klari’s supervision, but
for the rest of the day Andras taught me to
climb trees, gallop bareback, roast corn on
the cob over a fire in the open fields, and run
wild in general. Then, when we learned that
on the following Sunday the grownups were
planning a large party for the neighboring
landowners, we decided to play a prank on
them. I was sunburned and had long dark hair
and dark eyes, and with the right costume
could easily be taken for a gypsy child. When
38
CIGÁNYPRÍMÁS IS THE
HUNGARIAN WORD FOR THE
LEADER OF A GYPSY BAND.
the company was assembled on the veranda,
I appeared barefoot, dirty, and disheveled,
with my violin tucked under one arm, and
in gypsy dialect I begged the “honored ladies
and gentlemen” to allow me to play a few
tunes for them, as my little brothers and sisters were starving. Before her parents could
recover from the sight of me, Klari entered
into the spirit of things and started to shoo me
away. The guests insisted that I be allowed to
stay and perform, but what made even Klari
grow pale with horror was when, after I had
finished the last tune to thunderous applause,
EMULATE MEANS TO
IMITATE, OR COPY.
I held out my small apron and went around
to all the guests and asked them for money.
When I left the veranda, the apron was full of
bank notes. On my return, all cleaned up, as a
student under Klari’s supervision at the Royal
Academy in Budapest, I offered the money
back, but they wouldn’t hear of it. In fact,
many of the bank notes were doubled. These
were my first earnings.
After graduating, and after many years of
concert tours in Europe and America, I suffered increasing pressure and stress. I decided
that the only thing to do was to invent a new
HOLISTIC DESCRIBES AN APPROACH
THAT COMBINES DIFFERENT
ELEMENTS INTO A UNIFIED WHOLE
method of violin playing that combined the
classical style of focus and order I’d learned
at the Academy with the gypsy style of freedom and joy. I created exercises to adapt
the gypsy violinists’ more relaxed hand and
body positions, which allow students to play
their instruments without physical tension
or anxiety. I also created exercises to emulate
the gypsies’ attitude of having and giving a
deep sense of joy through their music. It was
a revolutionary idea that became known as “A
New Approach to Violin Playing,” a holistic
approach involving mind, body, and spirit.
Although at first I met with much opposition, I stopped performing and began to give
lecture demonstrations and workshops all over
the world. I also published several books and
made a teaching video. Today my method is
taught in thirty-three countries by teachers
who have all been trained by me. What do I
do now? I live in Oxford, England, and teach
the New Approach.
NOTE In 1992, the American String Teachers
Association conferred upon Kató Havas its
International Award for her “unparalleled achievements.” In 2002, she was appointed Officer of the
Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for
“services to music.”
39
“Do you want to be a pirate
Part 3
by Nell Wright
Fifteen-year-old Nodi longs to go on raids with his pirate
father, Polyonus, but his lameness is a drawback. Even though
his father says, “Maybe next time,” Nodi is frustrated at always
having to stay behind with his mother, Mana, and his sister,
Sara. Several others live on the pirates’ island as well, working
together as one large family.
Polyonus and his crew, Alec and Petri, launch their raids
from a secluded cove. Out in the water, they board Roman ships,
taking prisoners and plunder. One stormy day, the pirates
return with four captives. One is a cocky Roman boy named
Gaius Julius Caesar. With him are an older Greek physician
and two Gallic slaves. While the others unload the plunder,
Polyonus takes time to speak with Geron, his first captain,
now too old to sail.
The next day Polyonus and Alec set off in the small boat
to negotiate a ransom for the Roman prisoner, Gaius. They take
the Greek with them. In their absence, Gaius asks to explore
the island. When Nodi says he has to clean up downed branches
from the storm, Gaius offers to help. Afterward, the boys walk
across the island and climb a tree over a windy cliff that looks
out over the sea. Gaius seems to be collecting information about
his whereabouts, and Nodi fears he has revealed too much when
he mentions the island of Lesbos, visible in the distance. On the
way back, Gaius is full of questions.
40
like your father?” Gaius asked.
“Piracy keeps us alive,” I said.
“My father has always been a
pirate. It’s not the best way to earn
a living. I wish we just fished and
farmed. Stealing from frightened
sea travelers seems wrong to me.”
Gaius stopped. “Nodi, I can’t
believe what a coward you are!
Here you are, son of the most
competent Polyonus, and you
think there’s something wrong
with piracy. You’re earning a
ransom of thirty talents from
me. As the Spartans used to say,
as long as you don’t get caught,
theft is fair.”
A surprising reaction from a
prisoner.
“Do you like being a student?” I
asked, resuming our walk. “Why do
you study Greek?”
“One needs Greek in Rome.
The best part about this trip,
however, is that I’m avoiding an
engagement to a girl I do not wish
to marry. I’ll cut it off entirely
when I return.”
Romans were strange. Only a
little older than me, and almost
married?
“Don’t let them promise you to
someone you don’t choose yourself,”
he went on as if to a friend. “I want
a wife with common sense.”
Illustrated by Ned Gannon
text © 2018 by Nell Wright, art © 2018 by Ned Gannon
He suddenly grabbed his tunic. “Look,
Nodi, I’ve lost my belt. The gold buckle is
worth my entire education in Rhodes.”
By now I was really dragging my bad foot
and was too tired to retrace our steps. “I have
to finish the chores. We’ll find it another day.”
“It’s probably at the foot of that tree. Wait
here for me so I don’t get lost.”
He ran back along the trail. I waited, worrying that somehow he was getting away, but
it was too late to follow him. I tried to reassure myself. He hadn’t attempted to knock
me out and he’d have to swim half a day to
reach the closest land.
Gaius caught up with me just as I grew
tired of waiting and began limping slowly
back to camp.
I turned to him, relieved. “Where’s your
belt?”
“It must have fallen off, over the cliff. I
couldn’t find it. I was scared to climb down.”
He looked embarrassed.
“I can’t go back now, but I’ll tell Father.”
When we returned, Gaius went into his
hut. Sara was caring for Dina’s little girls, and
I offered to take over.
We three had a game: I tapped the girls
and ran away. They looked for me, squealing
and shouting. Growing bored with that, I
suggested we sit by the shore and throw rocks.
They ran and threw; I sat and rested my leg.
The girls shrieked with delight when their
stones splashed in the water.
Gaius suddenly appeared. “Quiet!” he roared.
41
The girls stopped, shocked. No one had
ever told them to be quiet.
“I was sleeping,” Gaius said roughly.
“When I sleep, don’t scream.”
It was the first sharp
word they’d ever heard, and
it silenced them. The girls
climbed onto my lap and fell
asleep. After a while, I settled
them on a mattress and fetched
water for Sara.
When Polyonus returned, I
had fallen asleep, too. Hearing
his voice, I jumped up, ashamed.
My father smiled. “Someone
did a lot of work today cleaning
up the windfalls. Good job, Nodi.”
“Gaius helped,” I admitted.
“Mana told me about your outing with
Gaius. Did he really lose an expensive buckle?”
“A big showy one,” I answered. “Gold. I’ll
go back and get it another day.”
He glanced at my leg. “I’ll look for it
before dark. Lie under the awning tonight.
You need your sleep. I’ll stay up by the boat
and guard it.”
“Thank you, Father.”
Polyonus sat with old Geron for a while
and then disappeared, running, into the woods.
I rested next to the sleeping toddlers, enjoying
the smell of goat stew simmering over the fire.
When we were all eating dinner, Father
announced, “Gaius, that buckle was nowhere
on the cliff or around the tree.”
Our captive didn’t look as disappointed
as I expected. I had a sudden suspicion
42
that Gaius had hidden it, but I didn’t
understand why.
Father must have been thinking the same
thing, because he asked, “Did you hide it?”
“Polyonus, it fell down the
cliff.”
Father left the matter at
that, but told me quietly that
Gaius was not to leave camp
again. “I don’t trust the boy.”
I didn’t either. I felt so
ashamed that Gaius had
learned something about our
whereabouts from me that I
didn’t share my fear with Father.
For the next few weeks our lives settled
into a routine while we waited for the ransom. Heavy with child, Dina rested on her
bed. Petri’s twins and the Gallic slaves started
building a raft from driftwood and vines
they’d collected. I took Dina’s girls to swim
in the cove in the afternoons. Gaius continued to yell at us for disturbing him.
Pirating was over for the season, so Alec
and Petri helped at camp. Father fished with
Geron’s nets and kept the old man company.
After a month Father sailed to Lesbos to see
whether the ransom had come. He returned
with nothing to show for it.
“Gaius, when are your people going to
bring the money?”
“Polyonus,” Gaius said, “you’ll get your
ransom. My word is good. I’m a Julian.
However, it might be better to kill me rather
than ransom me. I’ll be catapulted into power
when I exterminate the pirates around here.
You know that we crucify pirates. And you
can be sure that I’ll be back to try.”
“You have to find us first,” Father said.
I felt the grip of worry in my gut. How
much had Gaius learned from me? Was it
enough to figure out how to find our island
and our cove?
A week later Father set out again for
Lesbos in the small boat.
In his absence, the slaves helped the twins
with their raft, which was barely seaworthy.
Petri and Alec alternated between keeping
watch on the slaves and knitting nets with
Geron. Gaius took me and Sara into his hut
to keep him company.
“Did you mean that? About exterminating
us?” Sara asked. “After all the kindness we’ve
shown you? Why?”
“I meant it.” Gaius looked at the floor. “If
you’re fools enough to get caught at your own
game, you deserve it. Besides, I need the ransom back to finance my career. And if I want
to get elected to high office, I have to be able
to . . . do things like that.” He looked away
for a moment, then said gruffly, “Please, Sara
and Nodi, get away from here as soon as you
can. All of you. Especially those little girls.”
“How do you plan to find the cove
again?” I challenged him.
“I’m not a bad sailor,” he said, not answering the question, “though you haven’t given
me any chance to show you.” He looked at me.
I was not going to fall for his tricks again.
“Prisoners don’t go out on the boats,” I said
sternly.
Father returned late the next day.
“I’m taking you now, Gaius. The coming
dark suits me.”
I rose to my feet expectantly.
“Yes, Nodi, you’ll come this time. Bring
the knife, the one you use on wood.”
I shivered from his trust in me, from
pride. Maybe also from fear that I’d have
to use the knife on Gaius.
“Alec, Petri!”
The two men came running from the shore.
“Empty the boat. No more work on that
raft; it is not to be completed. Understand?”
“Yes, Polyonus,” said Petri.
“You have received your money, then?”
Gaius asked.
Father nodded toward the boat where
Petri and Alec were unloading a square wicker
basket.
“What about my slaves?”
“You mean my slaves, Gaius? They stay
here. I will sell them to the East after a
while.”
I got my knife and hat. Gaius packed
the books loosely, leaving an armful on a
mat for Sara.
“I’m taking the histories with me,” he
said, “but I’ve left you the old song about
Achilles in Troy.”
“Thank you, Gaius.” Sara no longer
blushed when he looked at her. Nor did she
remind him that all the books now belonged
to her.
I walked Gaius to the boat, wondering
whether I’d miss him. Dina’s three-year-old
ran up and hugged his knees.
...OR HE’LL CRUCIFY
THEM? ACK!
IS GAIUS TELLING THEM NOT TO
LET HIM GO, OR...?
MEW!
SOME FRIENDSHIPS
ARE COMPLICATED...
43
Gaius bent to detach her and pushed her
back toward camp. “Nodi, listen to me,” he
said. “Get them all away from this island.
Why do pirates have wives and children, anyway? Promise?”
I nodded but had no intention of leaving
unless Father declared it was time.
Next to the small boat, Polyonus said,
“Gaius, leave the books there on the sand. Strip.”
He was looking for that buckle one last time.
Gaius dropped the basket, stripped,
and raised his arms. Father ran his hands
through the boy’s wavy hair and then walked
around him.
44
“That will do. Dress and get in. Center
thwart, facing front. Nodi, you, too.”
Though I climbed in carefully, my injured
leg thumped against the side of the boat.
Gaius’s hand came out to help me, no comment. I took my seat on the bench, mulling
over his last words. Could he get back here?
He would have to find our island and navigate the hidden entrance to the cove. I began
to think he could. He’d watched our comings
and goings so carefully. I’d taken him across
the island and said that Lesbos was visible
from the top of the cliff. How much would
he remember?
to be continued
WHAT
DRAMA!
WHAT
TALENT!
WAIT FOR ME!
WINNERS
J ANUAR Y 2 0 18 STORY CON TEST
Surprising Friendship
First prize 10 and under
Simran Gandhi, age 7
Bowling Green, OH
Unexpected Friends
I think you already know my best friend and me. Let
me tell you a little bit about us. I would say that we are
pretty different. For example, our looks. I’m tall and thin,
and my friend is short and chubby. I think we both look
great.
I like to think about creative ideas. I love to draw
and write. My best friend thinks that my work needs
improvement. So, we often argue. Did you know that he
sometimes stamps out all my hard work? It sometimes
makes me feel frustrated, mad, and miserable.
But I don’t mind that much because I know that he is
just trying to help me. For example, sometimes, after he
has done his work, I realize what he did made my work
even better! One day, I was writing, and he came over
and went onto my paper and zapped out all the things
that didn’t make sense.
And he’d do anything for me. He was helping me
so much he was shrinking away. I didn’t want to lose my
best friend. It hurt me to see him do that just for me.
But wait a minute, do you know our names? I think
I forgot to mention that. Here they are. My name is
Pencil; my best friend’s name is Eraser! We’re unexpected
friends, don’t you think so?
ordered all the furniture from Pottery Barn so everything
would be “just so.” I had tried to convince Mama that my
puppy, Cony, could stay, but she had said firmly, “A trial
run of three days. No more no less.” And there was no
arguing with Mama when she was in that mood. You see,
I loved Babushka, but she had one problem for my sweet
little puppy . . . a cat. Lo was a mean old cat, but Mama
claimed that he would need his rest in his old age. Ha!
Babushka arrived with hustle and bustle and lots of
extra cleaning (for me). We ate a quiet supper of borsch,
a Russian soup, and then Mama and Babushka sat down
to a Russian movie, and I headed upstairs to finish my
homework and read if I had the time. I spoke some
Russian, but not enough to understand a movie in the
language.
About three hours later, after I was in pajamas and
ready for bed, I heard Babushka yelling in Russian, “My
cat! Where is my sweet Lo? The dog has eaten him! I am
sure of it!”
I ran downstairs, preparing to stand up to Babushka,
but I couldn’t do it. So I helped her look for Lo. We looked
high and low. Finally I checked in Babushka’s room, which
was on the top floor, and there I found Lo and Cony.
Cony had her eyes closed, and Lo was licking Cony’s ears.
I called Babushka and Mama up to the room, and
all three of us stood for a moment, and at last Mama
said, “Well, I guess cats and dogs can get along. What an
unexpected friendship!”
First prize 11 and up
Rebecca Ard, age 11
Bainbridge Island, WA
Second prize 10 and under
Caroline Baskin, age 9
Los Angeles, CA
Babushka’s Cat
I sighed as I looked around the room I’d just prepared for Babushka, my grandmother, who would be
arriving from Russia in less than a week. Mama had
Opposites
Hayley August looked out the window, daydreaming.
She was glad that she was next to it again this year, but
also wistful, because one empty desk separated her from
the window. The desk had never been occupied, and
Hayley wondered why. She had sat next to it for the past
two years at her school, Tabby Elementary.
Tabby was close enough to the ocean that Hayley
could see the water. But today, that wasn’t all she saw
outside. She also saw a girl with red hair. Hayley guessed
she was somebody’s sibling. But when the girl walked
into her classroom, Hayley became curious about her.
She also wondered where her best friend, Abby, was. But
then the bell rang, and her attention snapped back to Mr.
Robbs.
“Class, I have some exciting news!” Mr. Robbs
announced. Usually when Mr. Robbs had “exciting news,”
it was that they were about to start a new unit. But Mr.
Robbs pointed to Mystery Girl. “This is Erin Baxter. Erin
will be spending the year here. Her family swapped
houses with Abby’s. Hayley, you’ll be Erin’s partner. She’ll
sit next to you.”
Erin smiled shyly and sat down at that empty desk
next to the window. Hayley didn’t return the smile. The
girl had replaced her best friend!
That afternoon, Erin went to Hayley’s house to do
a project for Mr. Robbs. It was mostly one big staring
contest. Erin made a few attempts at conversation, but
Hayley figured that since they had nothing in common,
what was the point? Hayley was outgoing; Erin was shy.
Hayley liked sports; Erin preferred poetry.
After Erin left, Hayley sighed and flopped on her
bed. Now that she had no friends within a hundred miles,
what would she do? She thought about the empty desk
by the window, Erin’s red hair and shy smile. Only a minute ago, she had closed the door on that. Now, Hayley
threw it open and ran.
“I’m sorry, Erin!” she yelled. Erin spun around, looking startled, then delighted.
“It’s OK!”
This was the start of a friendship of two opposites.
45
Second prize 11 and up
Lydia Hessel-Robinson, age 11
Elkins Park, PA
Rag-Tag Furbag
I slowly trudged home, not wanting to face Mom’s
wrath when she found out that I had a C on my test.
So much for studying! To make matters worse, the
eighth grade bullies had given me a bloody nose at
lunch.
Suddenly, a rustle in the bushes drew me from my
sullen thoughts. I shouted when a black-and-white ball of
fur whizzed around my feet. The furball skidded to a halt
in front of me and let out a loud yip!
The dog was scrawny and had black patches over his
dull coat. His feet were caked with mud; his fur hung off
his skin in bags, and his ribs showed, but I nonetheless
instantly fell in love with the dog.
I remembered that I had some bread left over
from lunch, so I pulled it from my bag for him. “Here
you little rag-tag furbag, here,” I crooned to him. He
snatched the bread from my hands, and I momentarily
forgot about my test.
The dog followed me home. I didn’t think Mom
would let me keep him, but when I walked inside she
glimpsed him standing at the door. “The poor thing! It
must be half dead at this point!” she cried.
OUR PRANK WORKED PERFECTLY!
TOO WELL, I’M AFRAID. SHOULD
WE TELL LADYBUG ALL OUR
“NICE” PRANK IDEAS WERE
A PRANK IN THEMSELVES, TO
DRIVE HER CRAZY?
Mom promptly fed the dog some of the dog food
that we kept on hand for Grandma’s dog and gave him a
bath. Then we got into Mom’s old car and drove to the
vet. I laughed at how the dog stuck his head out of the
window only after sniffing it tentatively.
The vet gave the dog a thorough checkup and told
us that he had no illnesses, and no microchip—he was
just starved and needed love.
We took him home and nursed him to health. I still
didn’t believe I’d get to keep him, until Mom came home
with a leash and dog bed one day, asking me, “What
should we name him?”
Grinning, I thought: Rag-Tag!
Rag-Tag followed me everywhere, and the bullies didn’t bother me anymore. Rag-Tag was my best
friend—oh, and Mom never found out about that test!
Third prize 10 and under
Anna McDonald, age 10
Kansas City, MO
Near Catastrophe
ThunderEye’s feet pounded across the hard, stone
pathways of Highland, his heart pounding in unison. He
was running faster than he’d ever run in his life. His ears
were ringing, and he was drenched with sweat, making
little wet marks on the pavement below as the sweat
MEWY SHIVER!
AGREED! I HAVE ANOTHER
IDEA... (WHISPER, WHISPER)
trickled off his forehead and onto the ground. He had
been running this way for hours, running away from all
the screams and cries from his village, but most of all,
running away from his fear.
ThunderEye skidded around a corner, the golden
buckles on his shoes making a horrible screeching sound.
He ducked into a nearby abandoned shop and nearly
collapsed from exhaustion. He knew he couldn’t afford
to rest, but there was no way he could go on in this
condition.
Just as he suspected, thundering footsteps were
starting to boom across the pavement, heading closer
and closer, until one gigantic eye peered in the window
of the shop, gleaming with hatred. Then the roof was on
fire.
ThunderEye ran out the door, just by instinct,
before realizing he had just put himself in more danger.
ThunderEye stared up at the ruby-red dragon standing before him, its razor-sharp claws just meters away.
ThunderEye’s eyes were glistening with something now,
too. Tears.
“Why do you do this?” ThunderEye screamed up at
the dragon. His voice cracked fiercely. “You’ve set my
village on fire, my peaceful, harmless village. You are
causing so much pain, and what did we do? Nothing!”
ThunderEye’s eyes were now glistening, his tears making
splotches on the pavement.
UM, HI LADYBUG! ARE YOU
STILL MAD AT US? WOULD
MAKING A BATCH OF COOKIES
TOGETHER CHEER YOU UP?
ARE YOU STILL WORKING
ON YOUR SO-CALLED
“PRANK” IDEAS?
HHRRUMPH!
MEWY
WHEW!
MEWY NEVER
KNOW...
IS THERE ANYTHING BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
FRESH FROM THE OVEN? (CHOMP) ACK! BLEAH! SOMEBUGGY
SWITCHED MY CHOCOLATE CHIPS WITH PEPPERCORNS!
OH, MY.
COULD IT
BE A...
MEWY
PRANK?!
46
IT WAS A
PRANK?
REALLY?!!
I’M SO
PROUD!
YEP. (BLUSH) WE DID!
WE PRANKED YOU.
YOU DID IT!
MEWY
TWICE!
HEE HEE
HEE.
To s e e m o r e w i n n i n g C r i c ke t L e a g u e
e n t r i e s , v i s i t o u r we b s i t e :
c r i c ke t m a g k i d s . c o m /c o n t e s t s
Solution to Crossbird Puzzle
O
O
22
D
L
S
N
A
F
A
R
23
O
20
I
S
E
E
T
S
E
G
S
O
O
R
E
V
E
L
B
I
R
C
14
N
A
M
A
3
A
L
L
F
1
10
A
C
21
R
A
9
M
O
T
T
G
F
E
N
24
17
12
N
G
R
M
16
7
26
13
11
8
O
W
4
18
W
19
15
5
L
2
6
E
X
Acknowledgments continued from inside front cover
Grateful acknowledgment is given to the following publishers and copyright
owners for permission to reprint selections from their publications. All
possible care has been taken to trace ownership and secure permission
for each selection.
“Pick a Pickle” art © 2007 by Marylin Hafner.
“Night Vision” by Stephen Whiteside, from The Billy that Died with Its Boots
on and Other Australian Verse by Stephen Whiteside, illustrated by Lauren
Merrick. Text copyright © 2017 by Stephen Whiteside. Reproduced by permission of Candlewick Press, on behalf of Walker Books Australia.
“What It Was Like to Be a Music Prodigy” text © 2006 by Kató Havas, art ©
2006 by Helen Cogancherry.
Photo acknowledgments: 13-16 (BG) Apostrophe/Shutterstock.com; 14-16
(spots) Minichka/Shutterstock.com; 30 (RT) Avshalom Weinstein; 35-39
(spots) blue pencil/Shutterstock.com; 35 (CC) Kató Havas; 40-44 (BG) one
AND only/Shutterstock.com.
25
22
26
23
24
20
16
21
17
18
14
19
15
13
12
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25
Contest Rules
1. Your contest entry must be your very own original work.
Ideas and words should not be copied.
2. Your entry must be signed by your parent or guardian,
stating that it is your own work, that no help was given,
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3. Be sure to include your name, age, and full address on
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W
I
S
E
This Cricket is alive with the sound of music—at least piano and violin music. Zoot was
quick to point out many other beautiful instruments (Can anybuggy say “cello”?), including
the human voice as well as fascinating instruments from long ago and around the world.
So strike up the band! For this month’s contest Zoot wants to sing the praises of your best
story about a musician, performer, or musical instrument.
Maybe you’ll write about trying out for the school orchestra, or working with a demanding music teacher, or performing a duet with a friend. You might write about learning
the steps to a folk dance that your grandmother remembers, or about singing in a church
choir or around a campfire. Perhaps you’ll write about what it’s like to be an instrument
maker, or about a favorite song or lullaby that gives comfort in difficult times, as in “Two
Violins.” You might make up a story about your favorite composer, or even write about the
song of an animal.
Whether you write about a lute or a lyre, or compose to a waltz or jazz or reggae beat,
everybuggy will be waiting quietly in their seats as concertmaster Zoot begins the overture
introducing your best story about the power of music. And a one, and a two . . .
L
N E W S TO RY CO N T E S T: P OW E R O F M U S I C
I
Growing Apart, Growing Closer
As soon as I walked into my house after a tiring day
at Jacksonville Public School, I heard a booming voice that
was singing an old folk song coming from the living room.
Immediately I dropped my backpack and ran down the
hallway to the living room doorway, expecting the worst.
But I stopped in my tracks when I saw my five-year-old
brother trying to read one of his You Can Read! books
to my grandfather, who seemed to be having what we
called a “remembering fit.”
Suddenly I also remembered something: sitting in
Honorable Mention
Nico Bucher, age 13, Nelson, BC, Canada
Sarah Greeb, age 14, Bend, OR
Lillie Josefiak, age 12, Henrico, VA
Spring LaRose, age 12, Bangor, ME
Lada Lykova, age 12, San Carlos, CA
Saumya Mahajan, age 11, Richfield, OH
Eliana San Filippo, age 11, Toronto, ON, Canada
Charlotte Tigchelaar, age 11, Huntington, WV
Hannah Wallach, age 10, Valley Stream, NY
Sloane Weiss, age 9, Los Angeles, CA
O
Third prize 11 and up
Levi Barshinger, age 12
Lombard, IL
a hospital room five years ago and watching my grandfather—who I had called Grandpapa at the time—holding my newborn baby brother, Jonathon. Two days later
my grandpapa had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and
my life, as well as everyone else in my family’s lives, had
been immensely changed.
Back then it had been Grandpapa who’d helped
Jonathon learn to make noises and roll over, but now
Jonathon was the one helping Grandfather learn to stay
calm and not get upset when he couldn’t remember
something. And yet, even as they had both grown apart
in their abilities and swapped sides on who helped who,
their friendship had grown closer; their bond had grown
stronger. Grandfather, even when he had forgotten everything else, had always remembered his love for Jonathon.
In the middle of the night when he woke up from a dream
and could not remember why he was awake, he would
always call for my brother. And Jonathon, who loved
Grandfather more than anyone else, would always hear
his beloved grandpapa and run to comfort him.
Even now as I looked back into the living room, I
could see my brother hugging Grandfather, telling him to
calm down, and Grandfather did calm down, because he
trusted Jonathon. And I was convinced that their friendship would only grow closer as their abilities grew further
apart.
N
The dragon spoke in a stone-like voice. “My parents
never cared for me,” he began. “No one did. I was the
runt of the family. They threw me out when I was old
enough to live on my own. Whenever I see happy families, I get jealous. I just want to be loved. I want a friend
and a family who cares for me.”
“I’ll be your friend, and if you stop destroying my village, the whole village will be your family.”
“Really?” asked the dragon.
“Really,” replied ThunderEye
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47
T A K E A F E W dozen pieces of wood. Fit them together in just the
right way and you’ll have—a violin. The typical instrument has about
68 parts (no nails, only glue). The richly varnished front and back, the
scroll at the top, the gracefully carved f-holes are a delight to the eye. But
the unseen inner construction is equally essential. I think the most vital
part is a modest little pinewood cylinder standing inside between back
and belly near the bridge: the sound post. Without it, the violin would be
practically speechless. The sound post brings the voice to life.
To make a violin, you’ll need special equipment: scrapers, borers,
tiny curved planes, files, some 70 tools in all. The painstaking handwork
hasn’t changed over the past 400 years. The result has been called “the
perfect structure,” an ideal combination of beauty and engineering. The
great violinmakers, such as the Italian masters Nicolo Amati, Antonio
Stradivari, and Giuseppi Guarneri del Gesu, were more than superb craftsmen. They were artists. With skill, study, and intuition they understood
the mystery at the heart of every violin.
Something else is needed to complete the violin: someone to play it.
The flesh-and-blood musician is what finally counts. The violin is merely
an instrument, just as words are the instruments of writers and colors the
instruments of painters. To get the best, we have to give our best. And,
whatever instrument we use, we’re all trying to play the same human tune.
48
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April 2018
Volume 45
Number 7
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