Friday, November 24, 2017

"Mr. Mergler, Beethoven, and Me" - a bookwrap









Unwrapping




"Mr. Mergler,
Beethoven,
and Me" 

Authored by David Gutnick
Illustrated by Mathilde Cinq-Mars

Ages: 7-10
Grade Level: 4-6



Who is Mr. Mergler? 



For 50 years, Daniel Mergler gently taught hundreds and hundreds of Montreal children how to play the piano. Day in and day out, decade after decade, one by one, the kids trooped into his bachelor basement apartment in Notre Dame de Grace.

They wove their way around the piles of books and sheet music, sat down at the keyboard and gamely worked through their finger-stretching exercises. A plaster bust of Beethoven on top of the piano surveyed the proceedings. Some students stayed for years. Others found out that if they weren't ready to practice, they had better find something else to do. 


Mr. Mergler took his music seriously. Then in 2003, his teaching came to an end.  His colon cancer had spread. He moved into the palliative care ward at Montreal's Jewish General Hospital. And there, he found himself sustained and comforted by his connection to a nine-year-old Chinese immigrant girl. He had met her and her father by chance in a Montreal park, a year earlier. Xin Ben became Daniel Mergler's student. The relationship changed both their lives. 



Wrapping some illustrations for you to enjoy


























About the book




This story is about a little girl who moves to Canada from China.  While in the park one day with her father they randomly meet Daniel Mergler an established and revered piano teacher.  He has been teaching piano for over fifty years.  He has this wonderful gift of hearing music the way most people are unable too and when he gets this little girl to sing for him he at once recognizes her talent.  

He talks about giving her piano lessons but unfortunately she and her family have little money to pay him.  Undeterred Mr. Mergler gives them his address and invites her to come to his house and offers to become her new piano teacher pro bono. 

The little girl discovers that she excels at her music and a magical bond develops between her and her mentor.  Mr. Mergler has a bust of Ludwig van Beethoven, a wonderful composer,  on his piano.  It was a precious gift given to him by his aunt on his ninth birthday and has resided on his piano ever since.  

The little girl works hard on her lessons and soon her music flows.  It's heavenly to listen to. 
  
"When I played with no mistakes, Mr. Mergler gave me a gold star."

"One day," he said, "you will shine more brightly than all these little stars."

She and Mr. Mergler has six magical lessons together and then one morning the little girl unexpectedly gets some very bad news.  

Mr. Mergler is terribly ill and has to stop giving piano lessons.  Oh my!  The little girl gets two beautiful surprises from her beloved teacher, a heartfelt note assuring her of her extraordinary musical prowess and the other a personal gift that she will treasure her whole life long.  

The book expresses the powerful impact that music has on its creators, its makers, and the appreciative receivers of their talents.  The book is a beautiful tribute to a true musical genius who changes his student's life by encouraging and teaching them how transformational music can be.  

The illustrations are soft, subdued and gentle adding a lovely richness to the text.  I highly recommend this book. 




Storywraps Rating:  5 HUGS!!!!!







About the author






David Gutnick makes radio documentaries for the CBC. Over the past thirty years he's done stories on former child slaves in Togo, secret religious services in Beijing and ballet dancers in an American maximum-security prison. He also writes about art and trains for Ironman triathlons. David lives in Montreal, Quebec, with his wife and dog and has a grown daughter and stepson.




About the illustrator









Mathilde Cinq-Mars is a graduate of the visual arts program at the Université de Strasbourg. She works as a freelance illustrator for many publishers and magazines. She lives and works in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, with her daughter






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