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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Music is an expression of all kinds of moods: happy, sad, and so much more. It is a language that speaks to the soul in multiple ways. Music is also full of magic. Eleanor’s town loves its music and Eleanor, with her cherished silver flute, leads the villagers on with her joyful music. There is lots of celebration and dancing when Eleanor is playing her flute. However, there is one man who lives just outside the town who no one seems to love. He’s very sad and lives all alone. Eleanor comes upon him one day and joins him at his campfire. He doesn’t talk, but when she plays her flute he gives her a very sad smile. She has touched another soul. When she returns to town and plays the same tune, a little sadder than her usual lively tunes, the adults don’t understand, but the children do, and they find a new way to dance to this sorrowful tune.
Phaedra Moon’s picture book story, The Man Who No One Loved, is a little different and somewhat sad, but it also speaks to the soul the way nothing else can except music. The story is told in simple language for young readers to easily follow along. The text is presented in different fonts and swirls around the page in magical, musical ways (there’s even some musical notation on some of the pages). The colorful illustrations are full of vigor and life, happiness, and, toward the end, sorrow. The story reads like a parable, a fairy tale, a legend, much like the oft-repeated and re-written story of the Pied Piper. I loved the connection to music and, even though some of the lines were very abstractly laid out on the page and a little difficult to read, I loved how musically the words flowed across the page. A beautiful story full of love and compassion and the soulful power of music.