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Echo Hardcover – February 24, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—"Long before enchantment was eclipsed by doubt," a young boy named Otto lost in the woods is rescued by three sisters imprisoned there by a witch's curse. In return, he promises to help break the curse by carrying their spirits out of the forest in a mouth harp and passing the instrument along when the time is right. The narrative shifts to the 20th century, when the same mouth harp (aka harmonica) becomes the tangible thread that connects the stories of three children: Friedrich, a disfigured outcast; Mike, an impoverished orphan; and Ivy, an itinerant farmer's child. Their personal struggles are set against some of the darkest eras in human history: Friedrich, the rise of Nazi Germany; Mike, the Great Depression; Ivy, World War II. The children are linked by musical talent and the hand of fate that brings Otto's harmonica into their lives. Each recognizes something unusual about the instrument, not only its sound but its power to fill them with courage and hope. Friedrich, Mike, and Ivy are brought together by music and destiny in an emotionally triumphant conclusion at New York's Carnegie Hall. Meticulous historical detail and masterful storytelling frame the larger history, while the story of Otto and the cursed sisters honor timeless and traditional folktales. Ryan has created three contemporary characters who, through faith and perseverance, write their own happy endings, inspiring readers to believe they can do the same.—Marybeth Kozikowski, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY
New York Times Notable Book
Publishers Weekly Best Book
ILA Notable Book for a Global Society
ALA Notable Children's Book
*The story of Otto and the cursed sisters honor timeless and traditional folktales [and] Ryan has created three contemporary characters who, through faith and perseverance, write their own happy endings, inspiring readers to believe they can do the same.” --School Library Journal, starred review
*A grand narrative that examines the power of music to inspire beauty in a world overrun with fear and intolerance, it's worth every moment of readers' time.” --Kirkus, starred review
*Each individual story is engaging, but together they harmonize to create a thrilling whole.” --Publishers Weekly, starred review
A masterpiece.” --Christopher Paul Curtis, author of Newbery Medal-winning Bud, Not Buddy
Daring and beautiful.” --Linda Sue Park, author of Newbery Medal-winning A Single Shard
Top customer reviews
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Echo tells the stories of three young people in the WWII era, who are connected by, well … an enchanted harmonica. Now, as weird as that sounds, it is an amazing tale, full of music and heartbreak, pathos and redemption.The whole thing is bracketed in an original fairy tale. The ending is one of the most satisfying I can remember. Don’t let the harmonica-fairy tale thing throw you. This book is swoon-worthy.
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