Morpurgo, Michael. 2008. The Mozart Question.
Don't let appearances deceive you. This book may not look like much. It's a small book after all. But it can pack a "wow" with the best of them. It's not a novel. It's not a picture book. It's definitely for older readers--upper elementary on up. What is it about? Well, even the book starts in a roundabout way.
The question I am most often asked is always easy enough to answer. Question: How did you get started as a writer? Answer: Strangely enough, by asking someone almost exactly that very same question, which I was only able to ask in the first place by receiving a dose of extraordinarily good fortune. I had better explain.The Mozart Question is a story within a story. The story is framed around that of a reporter--a new reporter hoping for her big break--interviewing a famous musician. The inside story is that of the musician. It is that story that in my opinion is able to pack quite a wow.
Lesley is a new reporter. She's only worked at the paper for a little over three weeks. But when her boss is unable to get the story--get the interview--due to a skiing accident, Lesley takes her place. Her job? To go to the home of Paolo Levi. Her instructions: Don't mess up! And above all else DO NOT ASK HIM THE MOZART QUESTION. The problem? She doesn't know what "the Mozart question" is. So she can only hope that she doesn't ask it accidentally. When she arrives, he tells her she may ask one question. Nervous she goes for it heart and soul, "I wonder if you'd mind telling me how you got started. I mean, what made you pick up a violin and play that first time?" His answer stuns her, wows her if you will.
I hope you'll read The Mozart Question yourself so you can see just how magical this short, little book really is.
Another (recent) review of The Mozart Question.