Additional Book Information
Series: The New York Review Children's Collection
Publication Date: November 5, 2019
by Helge Torvund and Mari Kanstad Johnsen, translated from the Norwegian by Jeanie Shaterian and Thilo Reinhard
Summer is here and Tyra spends many happy days lying in the warm grass with her new cat, Vivaldi. What could be better than staring up into the blue sky with a purring kitten on your tummy? But soon it’s September, and while getting her backpack ready for the first day of school, Tyra feels everything she is going back to and a hard painful lump forms in her throat. School is a place of no words for Tyra, a place where the girls stare at her and stop talking when she walks by, a place where she feels completely alone. Only music can put an end to this feeling, music and her cat. Maybe, just maybe, things will be different this year now that it’s not Tyra alone anymore, but Tyra and Vivaldi.
Vivaldi is a book for anyone who’s ever felt alone, anyone who’s ever worried or been anxious, and anyone who knows what a difference one friend can make.
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One of Flavorwire’s 20 Most Beautiful Children’s Books of All Time
Rarely are [the] contradictions [of childhood] more vibrantly or delicately explored than in Vivaldi . . . Award-winning poet Helge Torvund playfully and artfully blurs the lines between verse and prose, distilling for the reader the magic and loneliness in Tyra’s daily life. Some passages, like the one where Tyra names her cat, that are startlingly beautiful. . . . [Vivaldi] is a children’s book of uncommon wisdom, creativity, and tenderness. There’s something for everyone in Tyra’s story.
—Hannah Bulger, Children’s Books Ireland
The text . . . is lyrical, at times gently humorous and at others poignant, yet ultimately life-affirming. Strong lines and bold shapes in a striking array of muted colors create the groundwork for compelling illustrations. . . . Created by an award-winning author-and-illustrator duo, this long-format picture book with a compact trim is a shorter, more visual read-alike for R.J. Palacio's Wonder and other books about kindness and compassion. . . . This quiet, contemplative story explores the beautiful, complex internal lives of children.
I barely know where to begin—Mari’s illustration is like a party where the dress code is eyeballs. Her style is so discernible it’s as if we can see inside her head, and her head is being used as a basket to carry marshmallows and dumplings to an evening picnic with some polar bears.
—Liv Siddall, It’s Nice That