by & & illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 10
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 This seductive and spirited history of music and musical instruments starts at the beginning with Neolithic bone flutes. Proceeding through warm, cartoonish illustrations--lushly colored and boldly outlined--Les Chats PelÇs (an artists' collective) introduce such items as the Celtic warrior trumpet and Chinese mouth organ, the lyres and aulos of the Greeks, the Gregorian chants of medieval monks. From there readers press onward to operas and symphonies, blues and jazz, ska and punk. Music is given a context--sometimes considered a gift of the gods, sometimes thought to be the work of the devil--and there is a pleasing emphasis on its populist aspects: the minstrels who entertained in the streets of the Middle Ages, the public theater that brought opera to the hoi polloi, the colossal gatherings such as Woodstock. There is even a page on how to build a washtub bass. Each of the four families of musical instruments--wind, rhythm, string, and drum-- are discussed, with examples drawn from far and wide. On each page, Silence the Giant (mildly) threatens to foreclose on the festivities, but he doesn't stand a chance of muffling this kinetic celebration. (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-15-201310-5
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Harcourt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1996