Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Date Published: February 24th 2015
Genres: Historical, Music, Performing Arts, Social Issues, Social Themes, Young Adult
Audiobook Length: 10 hrs and 37 mins
Audiobook Narrator: Andrews MacLeod, David de Vries, Mark Bramhall, Rebecca Soler
Description: Music, magic, and a real-life miracle meld in this genre-defying masterpiece from Newbery Honoree Pam Muñoz Ryan! Winner of a 2016 Newbery Honor, ECHO pushes the boundaries of genre, form, and storytelling innovation. Lost and alone in a forbidden forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica. Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each, in turn, become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives. All the children face daunting challenges: rescuing a father, protecting a brother, holding a family together. And ultimately, pulled by the invisible thread of destiny, their suspenseful solo stories converge in an orchestral crescendo. Richly imagined and masterfully crafted, this impassioned, uplifting, and virtuosic tour de force will resound in your heart long after the last note has been struck.
This book was simultaneously a fairy tale and a very serious glimpse into our history. I thought the combination was very well done and interesting.
I loved how the book started off with the tale of the three sisters and their curse to be stuck until they can save a soul on the brink of death and the connection to the harmonica and the little boy was very curious and clever. I liked how everything was connected, how the harmonica went into the world and traveled between the individual person’s stories until it reached the one person it was meant to save. I didn’t know which of the characters would end up being the soul to be saved by the sisters and that kept me pulled in and wondering where the story would end up.
The individual stories between the three main characters were engaging and also difficult because of the time period and reminders of what was going on both in the US and in Germany during WWII. I did kind of struggle with how each story ended rather abruptly and then we went into the next story. It was like starting a new book and it took a while to get introduced to each person’s situation. Then after the three stories were told, we fast forward to the future, where everything comes together and the outcome for everyone is finally revealed. Then, when we finally got all the pieces of the story, we revisit that little boy who started it all with releasing the special harmonica to travel to its final destination.
The audio narration was fantastic. Each narrator did a wonderful job with the voices and brought the characters to life. I also loved how the audio contained actual music to bring the magic of the harmonica to the reader and pull it all together. I definitely understand why this book won awards.