|The Chief Cellist by Wenhua Wang, Amann Wang and Yu Yan Chen (translator)|
|Category: Emerging Readers|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: The artwork and design might divide its audience but the readers (and those being read to) will appreciate the sentiment of this simple and effective story.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 68||Date: December 2015|
|Publisher: Balestier Press|
Meet the Chief. A new cellist in a quite horrible orchestra, he has suddenly turned their fortunes – and his – round. He is now a superstar, and asking for more and more grandeur and help in his life. But one night, when his chauffeur doesn't turn up for him after yet one more sterling performance, he finds himself alone in a world that doesn't care how good a cellist he is, but one where destiny might just depend on him learning the power of teamwork…
This is actually quite a pleasant read for the young, although is probably best with parent or guardian there to help along. What is evident is that the script won't tax people – most spreads only have text on one page, and most of the time the block of writing is only a couple of paragraphs. Neither will the moral be too difficult for the young to see – the gentle tale takes us to several places we would not expect (and may have a strong Chinese allegorical situation with a white dog that means less to a Western audience – although the ethnic origin of the tale is never belaboured), but it does get us to a quite heart-warming situation that will please all readers.
The artwork might not gel with everyone. It looks too scrappy to my eyes, with perspective being twisted, angles of bodies and so on looking unnatural, and colours and just things in general looking a little off. It does bring some exuberance to the page, and does manage to bring mood when needed – mild threat when the Chief is alone, charm with the dog, etc. That's not to say there is not enough energy to the writing, but for me the merit of the book is the simple tale – folkloric, clear, and both sensible and sensibly wrought. The publishers – new to me, but as they share their life between London and Singapore that might not be a surprise – might have a look at a couple of typos, but they have a very good calling-card here. The same creative team are behind another book, and both are well worth a look, as their pleasant tales will bear many rereadings.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
Rabbit and Bear: Rabbit's Bad Habbits by Julian Gough and Jim Field is a longer book but just great for those on the cusp of reading to themselves.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Chief Cellist by Wenhua Wang, Amann Wang and Yu Yan Chen (translator) at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Chief Cellist by Wenhua Wang, Amann Wang and Yu Yan Chen (translator) at Amazon.com.
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