Friday, 10 July 2020

Music for Tigers

Finished July 2
Music for Tigers by Michelle Kadarusman

This fantastic middle school book brings together the beauty of music and the environment along with human diversity. Louisa is the narrator here and she has been sent from her home in Canada to stay for the summer with her veterinarian uncle in Tasmania. Louisa's mom is Australian and engaged in a research study that would leave Louisa home alone for longer than her parents like. Louisa has brought her violin with her, intending to keep up her practicing for an upcoming audition for the Toronto Children's Symphony Orchestra. The rest of her family is into science and she doesn't feel they understand her interests.
When her uncle Ruff meets her at the bus and leads her into the rainforest, she is made suddenly aware of the new environment that she will be living in for the next few weeks. The family camp is in poor repair, and lacks many of the things that Louisa would expect. She is staying in a cabin last used by her older sister several years ago, and not cleaned in preparation for her visit. The only electricity in in the main cabin where the kitchen and her uncle's sleeping quarters are.
Luckily the environmental camp near by, run by a childhood friend of Louisa's mom, offers an Internet connection and other amenities. The son of the camp director, Colin, is close to Louisa in age and comes to stay at her uncle's camp for a variety of reasons. Colin is a great character, and his attitude helps Louisa to come out of her shell, as does the family history that Ruff shares with her.
As Louisa learns about the history of this part of Australia, about the animals that live here and that have become endangered, she finds herself more interested in the science than she has before. And some of the animals might be interested in her music as well.
Colin is on the autism spectrum and has special interests in the environment and in cooking, which is a great help to Ruff and Louisa. And as Louisa and Colin begin their friendship, they find they both have things to offer each other and more in common than they might have thought.
I really enjoyed learning about this part of the world, a part of Australia that I have not visited, and about the wildlife that is native to it. I also enjoyed seeing Louisa grow over the course of the book and become more engaged with people and the world around her, while still valuing her music.

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