by Patricia MacLachlan
Minna is technically an excellent cellist, but she wants to find her vibrato. The process of that discovery is almost as elusive as the vibrato itself. As are many of Newbery Medalist MacLachlan's heroines, Minna is serious and questioning, counting objects and categorizing them, and wondering why her mother's fiction-writing isn't considered outright lying. Meanwhile, there is Lucas, a new member of her chamber group who has both a viola and a vibrato. He seems not to need questions or answers, but he does want his very formal parents to fuss over him. Lucas and Minna are different and understand each other in ways that may remind readers of the eponymous heroine of Cassie Binegar and her friend Margaret Mary. While Minna's musings make much of this novel sobering and philosophical, the language is playful and intensely poetic about such familiar of things as a laundry basket of unmatched socks. It is impossible not to be swept into the world of Minna's concerns and to find, among the more absorbing aspects, a simple, sweetly told story.