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Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
Practice Makes Perfect is a children’s book, written in rhyme by Michael Portnoy and illustrated by Adelia Drubetski. Two music-loving crickets, Uncle Sloane and Maestro Finn, own and run a music store. Early one morning, the first customer of the day is Madame Fly, accompanied by her two sons, Charming and Grace. Although not a single musical bone lingers in their tiny bodies, Charming and Grace want to put on a concert for the township; their mother demands the very best instruments to enable her sons to do just that. When offered lessons and instruction so that the junior flies will learn how to play, Madame Fly sticks her nose in the air, disgusted that such a thing would be offered. When it comes time for the concert, the audience runs away with their ears covered, due to the terrible noises coming from the stage. Madame Fly storms back to the music store, demanding that the instruments are to blame for the failed concert. After returning a violin, saxophone, flute, cello, drums and guitar, Madame Fly eventually leaves with a clarinet. The crickets are frustrated that the mother refuses to listen; nobody can play a musical instrument unless they have been taught how to do so.
Michael Portnoy’s book about three demanding customers looks into the lives of two accomplished musicians who love music, and whose patience is pushed to its limits. When children are told by their parents that they are incredibly talented at something – anything – regardless that they have never done that particular thing in their entire lives, it leads to cockiness, snobbery and a lack of respect for those that have put a lot of time and effort into it. In Practice Makes Perfect, that particular thing is music, which is about harmony and melody, yet the mother and children in the story portray it with ego and rudeness. The ending was a little bit confusing, as there didn’t actually seem to be one. I am hoping that this means a sequel to the first book is on the way, showing how much a lot of practice and hard work can actually pay off.