Mr. Mergler, Beethoven, and Me

Mr. Mergler, Beethoven, and Me


By David Gutnick and Illustrated by Mathilde Cinq-Mars


An elderly piano teacher takes a young music student under his wing and changes her life forever.

Not long after arriving in Canada from China, a young girl and her father bump into a kind old man at their local park. They have no idea that he has been teaching young people music for over fifty years. Mr. Mergler can hear music in a way that most of us can’t, and he knows that this little girl has a talent that, with encouragement, will grow into something magical. He offers to give her music lessons, a gift that will tie them together forever.

This story is inspired by events in the life of Daniel Mergler—a wonderful musician who loved to teach and whose generous spirit inspires author and journalist David Gutnick to this day.

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About the Illustrator

About the Author

Mathilde Cinq-Mars is a graduate of the Université de Strasbourg in visual arts. She works as a freelance illustrator for many publishers and magazines. She lives and works in Trois-Rivières, Québec, with her daughter.


David Gutnick makes radio documentaries for CBC/Radio-Canada. Over the past 30 years he's done stories on former child slaves in Togo, secret religious services in Beijing, and ballet dancers in an American maximum-security prison. He also writes about art and trains for Ironman triathlons. David lives in Montreal with his wife and dog, and has a grown daughter and stepson. 

Product Information

  • Release: March 13, 2018

  • $18.95, Hardcover

  • 32 Pages

  • Picture Book

  • 11 x 8.5

  • Ages 7-10 / Grades 2-4

  • Lexile: 630L Guided Reading: P

  • ISBN: 9781772600599


  • The Arts

  • Reflecting Diversity
    > Cultural & Ethnic Diversity

  • Character Education
    > Family & Friendship
    > Empathy


  • Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books of 2018, Canada

Advanced Praise for Mr. Mergler, Beethoven, and Me

"Cinq-Mars's delicate sketches, hand-drawn in color pencil, frame Gutnick's quiet text with charm and whimsy. The affection between the narrator and her teacher, as well as within her family, is palpable.... A heartwarming story about the magic of music, intergenerational relationships, and believing." - Kirkus Reviews

"Author Gutnick manages to successfully portray the deep bond that Mergler built with all of his students. This touching story displays Mergler’s kindness, generosity and sincerity. The full page, colour illustrations, created by Mathilde Cinq-Mars, are as soft and beautiful as Mergler’s soul." - CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"Cinq-Mars's illustrations, in gentle shades of green, gold, and pink, do a beautiful job of weaving musical symbols and luxuriant foliage together on every page.... This is a sweet story about the transformative power of music." - Montreal Review of Books

“This gentle story is perfect for readers of all ages, especially those interested in classical music…Mr. Mergler, Beethoven, and Me is a perfect picture book for schools and public libraries for appreciating the power of music, love, and friendship.” - Resource Links

"Inspired by a true story, David Gutnick has written a heart-warming account about how an elderly man's selfless offer to teach piano to a young girl transforms both their lives." - Canadian Children's Booknews