A board book inspired by Montessori principles features developmentally appropriate vocabulary and tactile elements.
Over 10 double-page spreads the book depicts nine musical instruments—trumpet, clarinet, cymbals, sousaphone, bass drum, saxophone, flute, glockenspiel, and snare drum—and a parade featuring all of them. A rough approximation of the sound of each instrument is the only text. The “plink” of the glockenspiel, “oom-pah” of the sousaphone, and “tootle-tootle-too” of the flute are clear, but attempts at onomatopoeia for the other instruments are less successful. (A QR code on the back cover provides access to sound files introduced by a robotic speaker.) The sounds are repeated as the entire marching band parades across the final spread, which also reveals the musicians to be a variety of races and ethnicities. A woman in the onlooking crowd wears a hijab. Though advertised prominently, the tactile elements really feel like an afterthought. On five pages, canvas textures hidden in small musical notes are almost indiscernible to tiny fingers. On four pages those canvas textures are placed somewhat arbitrarily on parts of each instrument. The larger tactile elements in the simultaneously publishing companion, Colors, are more prominent and therefore more effective. There, Wilson’s muted colors have undertones of gray so the blue is closer to teal and the pink is really coral, reducing its efficacy. The only text is the color name.
Underwhelming and offering little new for toddlers. (Board book. 6 mos.-2)