Caroline Magerl, Piano Fingers, Walker Books, March 2022, 32 pp., RRP $26.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781760652616
The joy of music is a rarely explored theme in picture books and Caroline Magerl’s gorgeous new creation is a welcome addition. The illustrations, created with watercolour, pencil and ink, capture Magerl’s trademark quirk and heart and add to the slightly surreal feel of the story. Magerl is perhaps best known for the delightful picture book, Maya and Cat, which was short-listed for several awards.
Bea comes from a big musical family and is on the hunt for an instrument that sings to her. When she finds an old piano that smelled gently of mouse, she discovers the joy of music with her piano fingers. The story includes a gentle exploration of sibling relationships. Maestro Gus, the ghost cat who lives in the piano, helps Bea explore her attraction to music and win over her sister, Isla.
Like Magerl’s previous works, I think the true joy for kids will be poring over the illustrations. This story could be used in the classroom as a starting point for discussion on music and talents.
Reviewed by Heather Gallagher