Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A chat with 'Kirkus Reviews'

Here's an interview just published by the American magazine 'Kirkus Reviews' about 'Banjo of Destiny.' Yes, now you can finally learn such fascinating tidbits as how I failed as a child to learn to play the ukulele.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Toronto Star is banjo friendly

I was pleased to get a call this morning from my mother-in-law Helene about Deirdre Baker's nice review of "Banjo of Destiny." Here's some of what she had to say:

"There's a real light-hearted sparkle to Torontonian Cary Fagan's "Banjo of Destiny"...This has the spirit and cheer of comic melodrama, its fun coming as much from Fagan's breezy asides as from the plot. Who could resist Luella, who toboggans down the school hill singing the school anthem in Pig Latin? ... These kinds of details, as well as Fagan's evocative descriptions of banjo music ("weirdly old and jumpily alive") give this story its loft."

Sunday, March 6, 2011

That plucky banjo--in person

"Banjo of Destiny" is just out and the first reviews are definitely making me want to take out the ol' five string and play a reel or two.

"CM magazine"
4 stars (out of 4). "'Banjo of Destiny' will inspire any budding musician, and its story of a boy coming to terms with his inner dork will appeal to all...This sweet, quirky little book hits all the right notes. Highly recommended."

"Kirkus Reviews"
"A low-key charmer."

"Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children"
"This bittersweet novel has just the right touch of wit and creativity to watch and keep the attention of young discerning readers. ...will encourage readers to think about what brings true happiness."

The reviews make me hope that kids might really be inspired to discover the pleasure of working hard at something they really want to be good at. There's a lesson I'm still learning.

It seems a good time to offer a photograph of the real banjo that Jeremiah built-- with the author's help, of course. Yes, it really plays. Total cost of materials: about $11.

But enough about me (and Jeremiah). Congratulations to Luc Melanson, whose illustrations for "Big Book of Brothers" have just been nominated for the Amelia Frances Howard Gibbon Award.

And now I'm going to go and play.