Friday 19 February 2016

ReadItDaddy's First Book of the Week - Week Ending 19th February 2016 - "The Chief Cellist" by Wenhua Wang, Amann Wang and Yu Yan Chen (Balestier Press)

Balestier Press have impressed the socks off us with their initial releases, taking the very best books from Taiwan and bringing them to a western audience. Our first Book of the Week this week is the stunning "The Chief Cellist"
What does it take to produce a truly original and stunning children's book these days? Sometimes you feel like you've read just about every story type out there, and themes seem to be recycled and rebooted so often that when you read a truly stunning original story, it demands to be read again and again.

So it was with "The Chief Cellist" which chronicles the hugely successful career of a cellist whose music inspires and entrances everyone who hears it.

As a member of The Caramel Pudding Orchestra (what a wonderful name), "The Chief" as he becomes known, turns into a bit of a classical music diva. He demands only the best food and drink to be served to him before his performances, and is driven around everywhere in a chauffeur-driven limousine.

The chief is happy, and is at the top of his game. Most folk who encounter him can't fault his talent, but find him a bit abrasive and bossy.

One night, after a stunning performance The Chief is left stranded by his chauffeur, just as it begins to rain. The Chief doesn't want to ride the bus to his luxury hotel with the rest of the orchestra, so he waits - and as he waits he meets a lady who lives life on the street. She's cold, wet and hungry but the chief takes pity on her, donating his coat to her so she can stay dry. She tries to repay his kindness by offering him a bed on the street but The Chief decides to try and walk back to his hotel, dragging his Cello along with him.

As the story evolves, the people The Chief meets all bring out the best in him, showing that even despite his fame and fortune, he can still show kindness and become a good samaritan.

The best bit in the book for us is when The Chief is humbled by a busy and noisy gang of orphan children who play loud raucous music out in the forest. The Chief is eager to impart some of his musical expertise but kids are kids, and they know best! You will really love this part of the story so we won't spoil it too much for you!

And so The Chief's evening of adventure begins to shape his future as he becomes a better person - and better still, finds a whole new stack of recruits for the newly formed junior section of The Caramel Pudding Orchestra.

This is a truly brilliant and original book and you really should check out Balestier Press's fantastic catalogue of stories, these awesome tales from Taiwan are truly showing us how it should be done!

Charlotte's favourite bit: The crazy children's orchestra, loud and raucous but so much fun!

Daddy's favourite bit: A brilliantly original and truly touching story of a man getting in touch with his samaritan side after years as a bit of a boorish diva. It's utterly fabulous, do not miss The Chief's brilliant performance!

(Kindly sent to us for review by Balestier Press)

"The Chief Cellist"

Written by Wenhua Wang and translated by Yu Ya Chen

Illustrated by Amann Wang

Published by Balestier Press

Publication Date: 15th December 2015