Hana has signed up to play the violin at the talent show, even though she’s only had three lessons. Her brothers predict disaster. But Hana practices and practices, inspired by her grandfather, or Ojiichan, who played the violin every day when she visited him in Japan. As Hana takes the stage, doubt is all she can hear, until she recalls her grandfather’s words of encouragement, and shows the audience how beautiful music can take many forms.
Inspired by her talented violinist grandfather, Hana signs up to perform at the school talent show never mind that she's only had three lessons so far. Hana's brothers mock her, her parents listen attentively as she practices, and on the day of the talent show, Hana's uncertainty gives way to inspiration. Uegaki (Rosie and Buttercup) and Leng (Norman, Speak!) are a well-matched and complementary pairing. Uegaki's prose is dense with detail-rich imagery during a visit to Japan to stay with Ojiichan, "the clear, bright notes" of her grandfather's violin "would drift upstairs, through the shoji screen doors to where Hana slept on sweet-smelling tatami mats, and coax her awake as gently as sunshine." Leng's digitally colored pencil drawings have the airiness of a violin solo, while still capturing the emotions Hana wrestles with as her performance looms. When she first approaches the microphone, she's seen crossing an expansive, empty stage, a tiny figure in a red dress against a foreboding sea of gray. Hana's clever triumph is testament to her inventiveness, perceptiveness, and dedication. Ages 4 8.