Fabrizio, a gallant Italian in a plumed hat and pin-striped vest, isn’t your average scurrying and scared mouse. He’s quick-witted and brave as he takes on Luigi, a menacing hungry cat, in the book Fabrizio’s Fable, written by Patricia Brady-Danzig.
Best known throughout Secaucus for her past work as music director for Immaculate Conception Church (ICC) and internationally as a recording artist and classical soprano, Brady-Danzig has taken on a new role as the author of a children’s book. Earlier this summer, she read to children from Fabrizio’s Fable, written in both English and Italian, at the Secaucus Public Library and Business Resource Center.
“I just thought of [Fabrizio] as the underdog, who overcomes a great danger.” – Patricia Brady-Danzig
“I just thought of him as the underdog, who overcomes a great danger [that] appears much larger than he,” said Brady-Danzig of the character Fabrizio. “Most people are empathetic with the underdog, and we’ve all had moments where we’ve had to face fears and get past them.”
Fabrizio lives in the same house as his friend Maddalena and spends time in her dresser. One day he encounters the neighborhood cat, Luigi.
“Of course we know that cats like to chase mice and gobble them up,” said Brady-Danzig of Luigi, the hungry cat.
The story follows Fabrizio as he searches for a way to fend off Luigi.
Adding song to story
Fabrizio’s Fable comes with a CD that serves as a teaching tool. Children can listen to the story being told in two languages by the author and Fabrizio’s Song sung by a children’s choir of unchanged voices.
“I would like [children] to have an interest in learning another language. I think we need a lot more of that in our country,” said Brady-Danzig. “It is a learning and teaching tool for our teachers and adults as well.”
As a trained musician and singer with a musical ear, Brady-Danzig understands the Romance languages. She is fluent in Romanian and speaks some Italian, Spanish, and French.
“To have someone of her stature reading in the library to our local youngsters in two languages is quite a treat,” said Lanora Melillo, youth services librarian at the Secaucus Public Library. “Fables are timeless stories that never get old and are often translated by someone other than the writer before being translated. Children and adults will enjoy hearing the story in a language that may or may not be spoken in their homes.”
Fabrizio’s image takes shape
Brady-Danzig came across illustrator Grace Min, who went to college with one of her sons, after she had interviewed two to three others. She fell in love with Min’s work and gave her the freedom to draw the characters for the book.
“I was delighted Fabrizio was a white mouse instead of brown or gray…I thought that was so cute. He had to be a dashing Italian, so [Grace] gave him a plumed hat and a white satin striped vest,” said Brady-Danzig.
Brady-Danzig envisioned Maddalena’s furniture in a Baroque style with muted colors, from the early 17th to mid 18th century, known for being grandiose.
Singing from an early age
“I was blessed with a singing voice from an early age,” said Brady-Danzig. “There was never any other choice for me; I was able to sing and play and that just continued.”
She first began performing in places like Hibernian Hall in Albany, N.Y., an Irish benevolent organization, with encouragement from her parents, who were Irish immigrants.
She studied at the College of Saint Rose, in Albany, N.Y., receiving a master's degree in music and later recognized with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. She has recorded six CDs.
She founded PBD Associates, Inc., eighteen years ago, a foundation dedicated to creating opportunities for young performers.
Although she has lived in South Orange over 30 years, she considers Secaucus a second home after dedicating 17 years to ICC from 1980 to 1997. Brady-Danzig was also named an honorary citizen of Secaucus in the late 1990s by then Mayor Anthony Just. During the last 14 years, Brady-Danzig has presented musical programs at the Elms for holidays and special events.
Fabrizio’s Fable was published by Woodpecker Press in Cedar Grove, N.J. Signed copies will be on sale at the Secaucus library for $20, along with tote bags bearing Fabrizio’s likeness. Fabrizio’s Fable can be purchased for $20 plus shipping via paypal at the following web site: http://www.pbdmusic.com/fabrizio.html
Adriana Rambay Fernández may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.