Reviews for Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreno Played the Piano for President Lincoln.

by Margarita Engle

Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Teresa Carre√Īo (1853‚€“1917) learned to play piano early in life. When she was eight, her family fled war-torn Venezuela and moved to New York, where she became a well-known child prodigy. Her status provided her with the extraordinary chance to play for President Lincoln, still grieving his young son‚€™s death. Engle‚€™s writing shines; L√≥pez‚€™s vivid illustrations evoke characters and historical settings with absorbing detail. Appended with a brief historical note. (c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Venezuelan pianist Teresa Carreo performs for President Abraham Lincoln amid a raging Civil War in Engle and Lpez's portrait of an artist.Thanks to parental encouragement, Teresita learned about "all the beautiful / dark and light keys / of a piano" at an early age. By the age of 6, she composed original songs. Revolucin in Venezuela soon drove an 8-year-old Teresa and her family to sail across the stormy sea to the United States, but the Carreo family arrived only to find another violent conflict"the horrible Civil War"in their adopted country. Despite the initial alienation that comes from being in an unfamiliar country, Teresita continued to improve and play "graceful waltzes and sonatas, / booming symphonies, and lively folk songs." The Piano Girl's reputation spread far, eventually garnering the attention of Lincoln, who invited the 10-year-old to perform at the White House! Yet the Civil War festered on, tormenting Teresita, who wished to alleviate the president's burdens for at least one night. "How could music soothe / so much trouble?" Half biographical sketch, half wide-eyed tribute, Engle and Lpez's collaboration endearingly builds to Teresa's fateful meeting with Lincoln like a gravitational pull, with bursts of compassion and admiration for both artist and public servant. Engle's free verse whirls and twirls, playful and vivacious, while Lpez's vivid, colorful artwork elevates this story to heavenly heights. Like a concerto for the heart. (historical note) (Informational picture book. 4-6) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.