Song of Rebellion takes up where Shari Popejoy's first
book, Speak No Evil, left off. The opening words are, "When
we last saw the Livingstones, they were told of a soon coming visit
of a little girl named Tina." Although reading the first book in
the Livingstone Library is recommended, it is not necessary for
understanding the events in this second book. Every reader who
becomes acquainted with Rachael, Luke, Logan, and Dori Livingstone
cannot help but like these sensible, adventurous children. I'm
afraid the same cannot be said about Tina, the newest visitor to
the vacation stop of Rhemawood Castle.
Song of Rebellion is clearly a story about Tina, a little
girl who continuously makes poor, selfish choices throughout most
of the book. As the spoiled, only child of rich and doting parents,
Tina believes her own "song" is the only important song in life.
However, she's about to learn there is more to a life-song than
her own solo. (The book is titled Song of Rebellion for
Throughout the fifteen chapters and 160 pages of this middle-grade
novel (ages 8-12), the author takes the reader on a journey of
both rebellion and redemption. As with the first book, the author
writes with an old-fashioned, tell-me-a-story voice, which is refreshing
and engaging. For instance, she introduces us to Tina by saying, "Normally,
I wouldn't enjoy telling you about Tina, because it's not a very
flattering tale, but she has given me permission to tell her story." And
you want to hear it! I know there's something inside
of me that enjoys reading about a troublesome girl (so long as
she is redeemed in the end) and her antics. Tina is so selfish
and such a strong leader that she manages to pull little Dori Livingstone
into her world of deceit. The older Livingstone children realize
that something must be done to help Tina grow beyond herself.
Musical references are used in the story in a clever way to show
allegory. "Assuming that humans produce a sound wave, and it somehow
goes out of tune, what causes it and how do we get back in tune?" Rachael
proposes to her brothers. ". . . I think Tina's a bit out of tune
herself," Logan pipes up. And so on. The obvious connection between
their insight and a person's spiritual condition is interesting
and allows opportunities for discussion if the book is read aloud.
Tina's redemption shows a surprising yet satisfying twist. If
you have musically inclined children at home, they would especially
enjoy this story.