David Fickling Books/Random House: Oxford and NY, 2008.
The Songman is stealing voices, of the animals in the surrounding area. Sylvie's dad is missing, believed to be kidnapped, on the day after an astounding chord has been struck by his self-made, natural-based instruments. Sylvie, her devoted dog, and her kite-making friend George follow the animals, including a fox with which Sylvie forms an interconnection, to find Sylvie's father and the source of the animals' silence. The Songman, knowing Sylvie has information he needs, sends the Woodpecker Man after them in his swan-powered hot air balloon.
This light fantasy novel was a delightful surprise. It had an interesting description, but you never know whether a story will touch you or not. It sounded too whimsical for me, but I enjoyed the nature instruments, Sylvie's connection with the animals (inherited from her mother), Sylvie and George's passions - kites and tree-climbing, the Allamanda road - a road all animals travel, and the unique usage of sound. Sound is the center of the whole story - voices, music, the strength of vibrations. The Songman uses it a few ways as a negative force.
The artwork is worth mention. The cover art and pencil drawings throughout the book are outstanding. They add to the story, not just take up space.
Certainly, a unique story and very light reading.
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