by Margaret Hodges
History comes to life in this picture book with lovely illustrations throughout. The story is well-told and children will learn of how the Austrian priest Father Mohr’s dilemma one Christmas season brought the world this carol.
Available from public libraries
with singalong CD
You may or may not be a huge fan of nursery rhymes, but this collection of several dozen well-known rhymes is well-done. The book is old-fashioned in appearance, with the illustrations done in felt and embroidery, but the CD is the gem in the package. I think it was the mixture of old-fashioned instruments played in a simple, sprightly manner, that drew me and the kids in–harmonica, recorder, fiddle, and did I hear an accordian? Well worth a listen 🙂
Available from public libraries
By Emma Thomspon
The audio CD that comes with this book, is what makes it, in my opinion. The short story of how Peter ends up in Scotland, participating in the Scottish Games, is well-read by the author and has wonderful Scottish background music! It is a simple, fun tale written in the style of Beatrix Potter herself, and illustrations are very similar to the original.
Available from: Public Libraries
Tubby the Tuba performed by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Tubby the Tuba is a fun little audiobook about a tuba who would like to sound like the other instruments in the orchestra. One night Tubby meets a bullfrog who shows him that just because he is a tuba doesn’t mean that he can’t play the melody like the other instruments. The next day, Tubby surprises the conductor with his own melody. The conductor loves his little tune so much that he asks Tubby to lead the orchestra.
This short story introduces children to all the different sounds and instruments of an orchestra.
Running Time: 12:47
Ages: 0 and up
Available from the public libraries and as a free download (On Freegal) through your local library
Reviewed by Meagan
We have really enjoyed this collection of works by Handel, so much so, that after a few listens through the CD to make the pieces familiar, my kids and husband are turning on the CD on their own, just for the enjoyment of listening :). The disc has a nice variety of pieces, some more well-known, some not, and includes a few pieces with singing which are quite inspiring! After all, Handel was called father of the Oratorio.
Classical music, Double cd
Ages: 0-100 🙂
Availiable from: Hamilton Public Library
The classic story of young Peter who lives with his grandfather in a cottage in northern Russia comes to musical life! Composed by Prokofiev, this story comes to life with a narrator and orchestral accompaniment. Not just an exciting adventure, it is also a wonderful introduction to a few instruments from each part of the orchestra: flute (bird), oboe (duck), clarinet (cat), grandfather (bassoon), violin (Peter), wolf (French horn), hunters’ guns (kettle drums). Not too long and very well done!
I have the CD shown above. In addition to “Peter and the Wolf” it includes Camille Saint-Saens “Carnival of the Animals” (which is orchestral music that depicts different animals), as well as “A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.” They are not nearly as exciting as Peter’s story, but you could consider it to be bonus material 🙂
Ages: 3 – 8
Length: approx. 20 minutes
Audio CD: music/story
Available from: try your local library, book store, or on-line
Have you been introduced to Raffi? Kids usually love his warm voice and medium to slow-paced songs about their world. I was first introduced to Raffi’s CD’s years ago when I began baby-sitting for some neighbour children, and I still like his gentle style of songs (no heavy beat). The only negative is that on every CD he has, there are one or two songs that you will want to skip :(. If you own the CD, however, you could burn it onto your computer and delete the song. This Animal Songs CD is almost worth it for the last song alone. I love how he changed the words to “Goodnight, Irene,” keeping the chorus, but having all the different animals finding places to settle for the night. Quiet Time is another nice CD by him.
Available from: Hamilton Public Library