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Showing posts from May, 2006
"In my heart" by Molly Bang

I was so fortunate to be able to read the text of "In my heart" long before its 2006 release as a picturebook. Fortunate, not just for the privilege from Molly, but also because, at the time, Roo was only three years old, and just beginning what would add up to be two and a half years of daycare.

There must be countless blog entries on the minor morning heartbreak of the daycare drop-off, and the feeling of all put back together that comes with the afternoon pick-up. How many days did I go round that circle? Hundreds.

And early on came these words from Molly, that begin "In my heart":

"You know how every morning,
I put on my shoes and coat, kiss you good-bye,
And walk out the door?
Well just as I'm leaving, I feel something in my heart.
I look inside,
And what do you think I find?

You! Right here in my heart."

Roo and I memorized that the very night the story landed in my email. And the next day, during the ride home, I aske…
Okay, I know you can read a review of it below, which gives you a plotline as well. But I came across this summary from the publisher, Fitzhenry & Whiteside, which is a nice straight line through the story.

Magnifico a novel by Victoria Miles (ages 11+)

Mariangela dreams of playing the piano, but when she arrives home from school one day to find a curious-looking suitcase in the living room, she has a sneaky suspicion that she can no longer hide from her 'some-a day inheritance' Waiting for her in the suitcase is her grandfather's old accordion. Her Nonna is thrilled, and Mariangela, well--she wanted a piano! ...instead she finds herself pulling the old, ugly accordion behind her on a red wagon--the only way she can get to her lessons--through the streets of Vancouver. How embarrassing! Even her handsome accordion teacher, all the more intriguing for his missing two fingers, can't inspire a passion in Mariangela for the instrument. What does interest her though, is …
Every reviewer picks up on something different. And they are all right! If you're curious about the plot of "Magnifico" this review, from May's Quill & Quire describes it better than I can (no authors don't write their own flap jacket summariesthat tricky work is the job of the editor).

Victoria Miles; $19.95 cloth 1-55041-960-9, $11.95 paper 1-55041-991-9, 262 pp., 5x8, Fitzhenry & Whiteside, May (ages 11+) Reviewed from unbound galleys

Victoria Miles, already known as a science writer, turns her hand to historical fiction in this novel, set in 1930s Vancouver. Although she has asked for a piano, Mariangela Benetti finds that her grandmother and parents expect her to play her deceased grandfather's accordion, lovingly transported to Canada when the family emigrated from Italy. She resists with all her might, despite the jaunty playing of her music teacher, an Italian immigrant and ex-miner who has lost three fingers in a mining accident. But s…
"It happened by the grace of God that Joseph Santangelo won his wife in a card game. This fateful game of pinochle took place in the back room of Santangelo's Sausage Shop, on Mulberry Street, in New York City, on the last night of the record-breaking heat-wave of September 1949.

That summer, each day dawned hotter than the day before, and the nights were worse than the days. All night, pregnant women draped wet washcloths over their faces, begged the Madonna for a good night's sleep, and thought how lucky Mary was that her baby had been born in December. Children, three and four to a bed, squirmed to escape each other's sweaty skin until their fathers' curses hissed through the dark and they dozed off only to wake, moments later, stuck together like jelly apples."

--the beginning of the novel "Household Saints" by Francine Prose, c. 1981, St. Martin's Press
Have you read Magnifico yet? Maybe that's why you're here. Or maybe you were looking for a particular brand of pasta, and wound up here instead. Sorry, you can't eat this book, unless you make a steady diet of children's literature. Which I do, supplemented by chocolate and cheese.

The Magnifico at the heart of this blog is Magnifico by Victoria Miles (me); Fitzhenry and Whiteside; c. 2006. I hope you'll find it blogworthy. The thing about writing a book is, you spend all this time at a desk, and then it is months and months in production and finally out it comes and you want to talk about it because even though it's done, you're still having thoughts about it. There is some satisfaction, if not talking, to be typing.

And a book goes through stages, beginning its life in the marketplace, and you're along with it, reading the reviews, dreaming of screenplay possibilities, and how old you might be if it ever made it to the big screen, who you'd cast as …