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Fiction Picture Book
Pages: 32
Themes: music lessons, piano teacher, Beethoven, friendship
Publisher: Second Story Press
Pub Date: 18/Apr/2018
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March 28, 2018, Toronto—Babar Books in Montreal (46 Avenue Ste Anne, Pointe-Claire) will be holding an event on Saturday April 14th at 2:00pm to fete the new children's picture book Mr. Mergler, Beethoven, and Me, which celebrates the legacy of the much-loved Montreal music teacher Daniel Mergler, who died in 2003 after teaching music to young people for over fifty years. The organizers are spreading the word to invite as many of Mr. Mergler's former students as possible to come out to the event, as an opportunity to gather together and reminisce about an inspiring teacher and welcome what the Montreal Review of Books calls "A sweet story about the transformative power of music."                                                                                                                                              At the event will be the book's author, Montreal-based CBC Radio Documentarian David Gutnick, who had the privilege of meeting Daniel Mergler before he died, and illustrator Mathilde Cinq-Mars. The story begins with a young girl and her father, recently arrived in Canada from China, who meet Mr. Mergler at their local park. They strike up a conversation about music, not knowing that the kind old man has been teaching young people music for decades. Mergler can hear music in a way that most of us can’t, and he knows that this little girl has a talent that will grow into something magical. He offers to give her music lessons, a gift that will tie them together forever. 
"Cinq-Mars' delicate sketches, hand-drawn in color pencil, frame Gutnick's quiet text with charm and whimsy. The affection between the narrator and her teacher, as well as within her family, is palpable.... A heartwarming story about the magic of music, intergenerational relationships, and believing."—Kirkus Reviews

Montreal Review of Books
Cinq-Mars's illustrations, in gentle shades of green, gold, and pink, do a beautiful job of weaving musical symbols and luxuriant foliage together on every page.... This is a sweet story about the transformative power of music.
Quill & Quire
Gutnick's story skilfully conveys the growing confidence of his young narrator, and her absorption in an art. The delicate illustrations of Mathilde Cinq-Mars evoke the strong-though-contained emotions of the characters and the flowering of musical talent.
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“This gentle story is perfect for readers of all ages, especially those interested in classical music…Mr. Mergler, Beethoven, and Me is a perfect picture book for schools and public libraries for appreciating the power of music, love, and friendship.”
CM: Canadian Review of Materials
Author Gutnick manages to successfully portray the deep bond that Mergler built with all of students. This touching story displays Mergler’s kindness, generosity and sincerity. The full page, colour illustrations, created by Mathilde Cinq-Mars, are as soft and beautiful as Mergler’s soul.
Senta Ross, Canadian Children's Booknews
"Inspired by a true story, David Gutnick has written a heart-warming account about how an elderly man's selfless offer to teach piano to a young girl transforms both their lives."
Kirkus Reviews
Cinq-Mars' delicate sketches, hand-drawn in color pencil, frame Gutnick's quiet text with charm and whimsy. The affection between the narrator and her teacher, as well as within her family, is palpable.... A heartwarming story about the magic of music, intergenerational relationships, and believing.

Awards

Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books of 2018  | 2018 | Commended

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