Sam is fascinated by the new girl in his class. The daughter of a famous conductor, Helen seems angry and aloof - interested only in her book. When he tries to strike up a conversation with her afte
Sam is fascinated by the new girl in his class. The daughter of a famous conductor, Helen seems angry and aloof - interested only in her book. When he tries to strike up a conversation with her after class, he only learns that her book is about Beethoven and she doesn't want to make friends. She doesn't seem to need anyone.
But Pete and Troy love to tease. They had Sam to pick on last year, but the two boys recognize that Helen makes an even odder target. After they steal her book and toss it on the school roof, a frustrated Helen finds refuge in the auditorium, where she plays her heart out on the piano. Sam is bowled over. For the first time he experiences a powerful new language: one that speaks to him as words never have. He must find the key to this secret language so he can express his inner self. He must learn to play the piano too.
There is no question of taking lessons. His mother can barely afford school supplies. And a piano? There isn't a hope. But Sam is determined. So he goes to Helen with a proposal. He'll keep Pete and Troy away from her if she gives him piano lessons. And he's thrilled when she reluctantly agrees. The only trouble is ... how is he going to get the better of Pete and Troy.
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"Susan Currie of Brampton, Ontario, has written a book sure to appeal to music lovers. A Basket of Beethoven
features two troubled teenagers who survive a stormy introduction to find friendship through music. . . The main characters, Sam and Helen, are genuine and individualistic. There is the added twist of a rather ingenious means for disabling the schoolyard bully.
— The Winnipeg Free Press
"The major focus and strength of this novel are the illumination of the nature of musical sense, and its discovery and development despite adversity. Writing in the third person from the perspective of Sam and occasionally Helen, the author, herself an accomplished musician, skillfully reveals how Sam and Helen feel about sound the music."
— CM Magazine
"How do you make a novel about the love of classical music into an engaging adventure? Susan Currie has done just that. Showing insight into the interests of pre-teen children, she uses familiar and not so familiar situations and feelings to captivate and hold a young audience. A Basket of Beethoven is an excellent novel for study by intermediate students. The contrast between the two main characters and the revealing of the character of the bully gives students ample material for character study and for the study of relationships and emotions. This novel is well suited for the study of Beethoven, music composition and piano playing. It includes a short biography of Beethoven which could be used to compare Sam and Beethoven. This story should be in all school libraries and is an excellent choice for music-loving preteens or for those plagued with bullies."
"Sound effects for an imaginary domain of spaceships and aliens fill young Sam's head as he escapes from the world of a rather shabby co-op where he lives with his mom. At school, though, Sam discovers there is another entire world of sound - in wonderful musical patterns - when he meets Helen, a new classmate who is determined to become a concert pianist."
— Edmonton Journal