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on December 7, 2005
This is a great read for kids.

The story explores a young musician's struggle to understand the adults in her life and to find her way among her peers as she explores her art. Becky's exploits will captivate you and carry you on to a wonderful and empowering conclusion.

She and her younger brother will make you laugh out loud.

Readers will learn some things about music and life. I think it is an excellent novel that will inspire whoever reads it.

I have decided to give this book to several children this Christmas season.

You can be sure that Becky will thrill boys and girls whether or not they have any interest in music at all.
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on December 3, 2005
'Befiddled' is a beautifully written book that has it all; it's extremely funny, full of angst, and peppered with just a dash of love and confusion; well just like the life of any thirteen your old. Read the first page and you'll be hooked. I guarantee it. Becky, the narrator, is so nervous as she's called on to play her violin under the evil eye of her teacher and the other hyena like students in her class, you can't help but turn the page and then the next page and the next....until you're done. We've all been in her shoes and like me, you'll be rooting for Becky all through the book, just as if you were rooting for yourself. And maybe you are. Go out and buy it. Buy it for all the kids you know. That's what I'm doing. What you'll get is a great story, a funny story, and one that has that extra special touch, Becky's love of music, that makes it so original and unforgettable.

Oh and just wait until you read Benjy's (Becky's younger brother) newspaper, "The Splinter". You'll be cracking up!
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on December 15, 2005
Becky Cohen is an ugly duckling hoping to transform herself into a swan. She is unpopular at school, a miserable failure in music class, and a huge disappointment to her mother. If that isn't bad enough, she also has to go through life with totally unmanageable hair. Her only ally is her younger brother Benjy. He writes his own monthly newsletter called "The Splinter" and encourages Becky's dreams of becoming a great violinist.

Becky's overworked mother cannot afford private violin lessons for her. Instead, Becky must take group music lessons at the local Y. Her teacher ridicules her performances in front of the class, and Becky throws up and cries after every lesson. She is about to give up on a musical career altogether until she befriends Mr. Freeman, the building handyman. He teaches her a lot about music and friendship, and also encourages her to enter a scholarship contest at a performing arts high school. Becky has many obstacles to overcome before she can participate in the contest, but the biggest one is her lack of self-confidence.

Pedro de Alcantara is a musician from Brazil who currently lives in Paris and teaches the Alexander Technique, a method used to improve movement. Music lovers of all ages will cheer for Becky Cohen as she struggles to follow her dream. de Alcantara has hit a high note with BEFIDDLED.

(...)
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on January 18, 2006
Befiddled is one of the best novels that I have read in years and I read A LOT of books! It has a great story-line and great characters. You can feel what the writter is meaning by the words and 'emotion' that he uses. I would reccomend this book to 11-15 year olds and I can't wait for Pedro de Alcantara's next book!
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on July 13, 2006
As a high school violin student, I picked up every book, no matter what age category, related to the violin. 'Befiddled' was one of them.

This novel is clearly Pedro De Alcantara's attempt at subtly spreading the Alexander Method through writing. Regardless of how effective the Alexander Method is, Alcantara's writing just doesn't send the message to me to go out and try it. While I seemed to "get the idea" about the Alexander Method, it was in some quite strange ways through the use of the dog, Mara. This was even further pushed when Becky "becomes" the dog at her audition. Her barking at others doesn't really seem to connect with me. It felt like he visualized one way to spread the word (in this case, through dog language) and it ended up as a clumsy and unconvincing explanation.

I was also distracted by the strange "relationship" between Becky and Mr. Freeman; if not a little unlikely, it in a way unintentionally disturbing. While the idea was genuine, the entire relationship was perhaps maybe a bit overexaggerated and dramatic--the situation in which Becky and Mr. Freeman "have a moment" through Mr. Freeman's tears and Becky's heartful, "I love you Mr. Freeman," was maybe just expressed in an awkward way.

Overused but cute music/composer-related punches here and there help to set the classical music mood, and Becky's school life with classmates is also a key element that will help this book relate with kids.

Overall, the novel is moderately good. Alcantara has written something to stir a child's heart and crack a few smiles, especially if they are musical. However, there just seems to be a little something missing in this story...that little something that makes a book a bestseller, which Alcantara most likely has a better grip on as a musician.
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on February 1, 2006
Befiddled is clever, funny and inspiring. As a martial arts instructor, I have been teaching children for 15 years. "Befiddled" is now on my list of required reading.

I highly recommend Befiddled to readers of all ages who like children, music, volleyball, life in general or any combination thereof!
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on April 6, 2013
I am a student of the Alexander Technique. This book, even though aimed at young people, gave me a tip that really helped me ease my physical tensions at the kitchen counter.
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on March 13, 2011
Befiddled is a very descriptive book about a girl who has to deal with critism from her mother, her music teacher, and her fellow classmates. I love it.
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