Van Dolzer, Krista. The sound of life and everything. G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 2015. 266 pgs. $16.99. ISBN:978-0-399-16775-1. Gr. 5+. P8 Q8
Just the other day we celebrated the anniversary of end of World War II, a war that my own father fought in. This story is set in California in the 1950’s. The war ended years before but the people are still mourning the death of their husbands and children. Ella Mae Higbee is now 12 years-old and loves to watch her favorite television show “Dragnet” with her father. Living close by is her Aunt Mildred who lost her son Robby during the war. Ella does mean to eavesdrop on a conversation between her mother and her aunt, the day that her aunt speaks about a scientist that can bring the dead back to you. The California Institute of Technology calls one day and requests that Aunt Mildred come to pick up her charge. So begins a new journey for Ella and her family. The man that they go to pick up is supposed to be Robby but he turns out to be a Japanese man whom Aunt Mildred refuses to accept. It is Ella’s family who brings him home to a world that still has strong prejudices against the Japanese. Ella’s own father refuses to accept him but does allow him in his house till they can decide what to do with him. I love the concept of bringing the dead back to life, having lost an aunt and a brother in last 4 years. I would love to see them again alive walking around in the world. There are however consequences to what the professor has achieved and in the end all who he has brought back die again.
September 2015 review by Carol Bernardi.