Mendel's Accordion

by Heidi Smith Hyde

Book, 2007



Call number

E 500 HYD



Minneapolis : Kar-Ben Pub., c2007.


A boy finds his great grandfather's accordion in the attic and with it the sweet history of klezmer music and the role the old accordion played in Jewish life through the years.

User reviews

LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
A poor musician from a small Eastern European village called Menitze, Mendel had few possessions, save for his treasured accordion. With this he made music, joining others to form a traveling musical band known as the Klezmorim. When times became too hard, Mendel immigrated to the United States,
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meeting other musicians on his voyage over, and eventually settling in New York. Working hard and raising a family, he tried to maintain his accordion playing, but as the generations passed, his children and grandchildren became interested in other styles of music. Then his great grandson Samuel discovered Mendel's accordion in the attic, and revived the old traditions...

Having read and enjoyed all of author Heidi Smith Hyde's other excellent picture-books, each of which explores an aspect of Jewish history and tradition, I have always wanted to track down Mendel's Accordion, but have never happened upon it in any library I frequent. Happily, I recently discovered it on the Internet Archive, and was able to read it! The story here (not unexpectedly) was engaging, highlighting how traditions sometimes have a way of falling to the wayside within immigrant communities, and are then rediscovered and revived by younger generations. The accompanying artwork from Johanna van der Sterre, who also illustrated Hyde's Feivel's Flying Horses, was appealing, with stylized but expressive figures that capture the joy and movement of the music being played. I do love klezmer music, so I also enjoyed this story as an exploration of the history of that music form, and appreciated Hyde's afterword, in which she gave more information about it. Most of my listening in this area has been to the group, The Klezmatics, although I understand that the 1970s band, The Klezmorim, is credited with reviving the tradition. Recommended to young music lovers, and to picture-book readers seeking stories about immigrants, musicians, and/or the Eastern/European Jewish experience.
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1580132146 / 9781580132145

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