From School Library Journal
Grade 4-8-First published in 1979 (Viking; o.p.) for adults, Seidler's early-20th-century New England fairy tale receives an inspired pictorial resurrection by Selznick. Tracing the footsteps of musically gifted William Carbuncle from his arrival on his uncaring uncle's doorstep in a box containing him, his brother, and a silver-stringed dulcimer, the story follows William's escape and journey south. Tricked by an innkeeper into a year's servitude, he spends his days plotting his brother's rescue and his nights playing sorrowful love songs of the sea to drunken sailor crowds. Liberation soon appears in the guise of a fictional New York City mayor, and William finally frees his brother from servitude and gains his own independence. Though Dulcimer Boy is without traditional fairy-tale elements, magic instead is portrayed as artistic accomplishment, inspiration, and drive. And, Seidler's simple yet eloquent prose likens William's plight to a caged songbird, cleverly weaving the hero's physical dilemma and pursuit of artistic creativity into the novel's rising tension. Selznick's detailed sense of light and shadow shines as his soft-textured acrylic paintings not only echo the novel's overall poetic melancholy, but also serve as integral pieces of the plot itself. This fusion of fantastic storytelling and engaging illustrations makes Dulcimer Boy an exciting and inspirational work that will be read, both alone and aloud, and remembered.
Hillias J. Martin, New York Public Library
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Born in Littleton, New Hampshire, Tor Seidler grew up in Vermont and later, Seattle, Washington, in both of which places his parents were involved in the theater. Encouraged by his family's love of the arts, Mr. Seidler studied English literature at Stanford University, and at the age of twenty-seven his first book, The Dulcimer Boy, was published, launching his celebrated career as a writer.
Over the past twenty years, Mr. Seidler has become one of the most important voices in children's fiction with such classics as, A Rat's Tale, The Wainscott Weasel, an ALA Notable Book, Terpin, and Mean Margaret, which was selected as a finalist for the National Book Award in 1997. He currently lives in New York City.