Listen to a few bars of famous Mozart compositions, as interpreted by animated cartoon animals.
Showcasing—or at least playing—six different Mozart pieces, the book’s pages include clear, inset plastic buttons with embedded chips; each triggers a short, approximately 20-second snippet of music. Some will be familiar, such as a variation on “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” and some less so—but little ones will likely enjoy pushing the buttons repeatedly whether they recognize the music or not. Predictably, the sound quality produced by a tiny speaker compressed within a board book is not especially clear or crisp. In fact, unless the book is partially opened to the final page, the sounds are somewhat muffled, a distinct problem for a book dedicated to an orchestral composer. Flat, digitally rendered illustrations are heavy on primary colors and low on nuance, but they are charming enough as they valiantly attempt to interpret the music, with bears in classical garb dancing to “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.” It’s confusing that “Sonata Facile,” a piano piece that “moves swiftly along,” is played by a young tortoise; somewhat more successful is the dramatization of the short text’s (somewhat forced) musical metaphors, such as the “merry and bright” tropical birds that enjoy the “Clarinet Concerto.”
Despite an educational veneer, this is mostly a noisy toy book. (Board book. 1-3)