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I, Vivaldi    by Janice Shefelman & Tom Shefelman order for
I, Vivaldi
by Janice Shefelman
Order:  USA  Can
Eerdmans, 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

As my seven-year old daughter is beginning to develop an interest in history, I am always on the lookout for books that introduce historical figures and times in a child-friendly manner. Although I, Vivaldi is a mixture of fact and fiction, it tells enough about Vivaldi's actual life to get a sense of who he really was.

As the title suggests, I, Vivaldi is about Antonio Vivaldi and his life's journey that led him to become one of the world's most famous composers and violinists. The book is written in the first person voice of Vivaldi himself. In a conversational manner, Vivaldi tells his own story of how he followed his heart. The power of music is also celebrated.

Vivaldi, who was born in Italy in the 1600's, had a difficult birth and was not expected to live. Miraculously, he survived and as thanks, his mother vowed that he would enter the priesthood. Vivaldi, whose musician father introduced him to the world of music, had other thoughts. Vivaldi's struggle - between his loyalty to his mother and to his religion, balanced against his desire to simply play the violin - is told eloquently.

This richly told story deserves the accompanying magnificent illustrations: they are exquisitely detailed and vibrant. The drawings really give the reader a sense of 17th century Italy.

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