Steiny’s Rhapsody is a colourful children’s picture book that will charm youngsters while teaching them an important anti-bullying message.
Written in simple poetic verse and aimed towards early readers aged three to seven years old, it tells the story of a black grand piano, Steiny, who lives in a music shop.
Because of his size, the other, smaller, pianos mock poor Steiny every night when the shop is closed and never give him a chance to shine.
Dancing around, the upright pianos point out that because they all have two legs, whereas Steiny has three, and are more compact, they are far more suited to “swinging that groove”.
As the pianos won’t listen to Steiny’s pleas for acceptance, he goes into the back room where he vows to play music his own way. Soon, he is blasting out a magical musical opus that wows all the other instruments
But Steiny doesn’t care about the other pianos’ opinions; he’s simply content using his own unique gifts to make music, composing the “prettiest musical rhapsody”.
Bullying is an issue that will affect most children at some point during their school years and this was, indeed, the case for first-time author Tamara Alireza.
Not only was she singled out as a child because of her height, but also her six-year-old nephew was a victim of bullying because he, too, was different from the ‘popular’ kids.
It was down to her nephew’s experiences that Tamara, a neuroscientist by profession, decided to write Steiny’s Rhapsody, which is a joyful celebration of difference.
Where it differs from other anti-bullying books is that it highlights the importance of finding inner peace by learning to love yourself, rather than trying to change the bullies’ minds or who you are.
It’s a perfect bedtime story to read to the little’uns and is complemented by delightful full-colour cartoon illustrations by artist Nicola Anderson, as well as a musical-themed activity section at the back for added value.
Steiny’s Rhapsody by Tamara Alireza is suitable for children aged three to seven years old. It is out now on Amazon, priced £7.99 in paperback.