New York Times Bestselling Author Pam Munoz Ryan’s Echo is a story about the power of music, family and just exactly how much the world can impact you.
The story, which takes place across multiple storylines, starts with Otto Messenger, who, while in the midst of a game of hide and seek, finds himself in a forbidden forest and no sooner, tangled into a prophecy, a mysterious harmonica and three sisters placed under a spell which only could be broken by a messenger.
50 years later, the very same harmonica is placed into the lives of Friedrich, Mike and Ivy, three children living very different lives, except for the one thing they had in common-their ability to find solace in music.
Friedrich, living in 1940s Germany is faced with crisis when his father is taken captive. Mike, an orphan living with his brother, Frankie’s lives are turned upside down when they are adopted by Ms. Stuebridge, a rich widow with a mansion in the countryside who has more to her personality than what meets the eye. Ivy Lopez discovers she is forced to move to Fresno, away from her old home and into a new life filled with new people whom she isn’t used to. But through the power of music and friends they make along the way, they manage to restore balance in themselves and break the three sisters’ curse.
Ryan manages to weave innocence and simple pleasures into a war-ridden world, and everyday experiences through the light of three sixth graders. Easily likable characters and their internal conflict adds a lot to the story as it enables you to only step more into the shoes of the protagonists’ lives. A particular highlight of the story were the descriptions, specifically the emotions felt during the performance. The rich imagery moves you into a haven tucked away from the world, where every note wrapped you up in a story they were meant to tell.
Filled with eloquent, simple yet effective prose, characters readers will thoroughly find themselves attached to, and a vivid glimpse into what the past was like, Echo will take your breath away from the first strike until the very last note.
Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan. Scholastic, 2015. Buy the book here and support Stone Soup in the process!