I do my best to raise kids that are interested in many different subjects and are well-rounded. Having said that, I am trying hard to cultivate in my kids a love of the arts, whether it be theater, the ballet, or playing instruments. Classical music is not very easy to get kids excited about as it tends to be somewhat repetitive and for some, boring, as it is usually not accompanied with singing. The book and CD combo “Listen to the Birds: An Introduction to Classical Music” has unique features that make it fun and easy to listen to classical music.
“Listen to the Birds: An Introduction to Classical Music” is a combo of a picture book and a CD with 20 songs, which are actually excerpts from recordings of classical masterpieces all involving birds. Some of the pieces are excerpts from Swan Lake, Four Seasons, Peter & the Wolf, Carnival of the Animals, The Magic Flute and many more. The book contains adorable illustrations on every page, by Cecilia Varela, and is an accompaniment to the CD. The beginning part of the book contains explanatory notes about each piece. They provide the background for the pieces, as well as the general plots of stories, where applicable. Some also explain why the composers wrote them. There is a lot of trivia and the fun tidbits are great for expanding your general knowledge. Clearly, the writer, Ana Gerhard, did extensive research and we can all benefit from it, while listening to the beautiful music at the same time.
There is also a listening guide in the book for every piece, which discusses the various instruments used. I found this the most interesting part because it made my listening more enjoyable. It’s nice to listen to music but it’s even nicer when you know why certain instruments were used and how they convey the mood in the piece. The book also contains composer biographies and a glossary of music terms.
I received the set for review and while my rambunctious 4-year-old son showed no interest in learning about the instruments (it’s recommended for kids ages 7 and up), my 6-year-old daughter was very happy to sit with me and read together. The CD is 26 minutes long – perfect to pop in when you’re making dinner and need to occupy the kids. It’s a wonderful gift for kids who are learning an instrument, or anyone who enjoys classical music and wants to broaden his horizons.
Click here to hear the music and see more of the illustrations in the book.
The set will be available June 1st; You can purchase it here. Price is $9.90.
I was not compensated for this post. I received a sample.