Friday, August 31, 2012

Strike Up the Band!

The STRINGS all soar, the REEDS implore,
The BRASSES roar with notes galore,
It's music that we all adore,
It's what we go to concerts for.

One of my favorite stanzas in Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin by Lloyd Moss. It takes a very talented writer to make words sing, and he does it brilliantly. It has been a busy summer, but I'm back to share lots of exciting projects. Today's post highlights a music center that I put together for my grandbaby's playroom:

I picked up the nifty book shelf, instruments and colorful containers at Target. The poster was in a box of old classroom supplies, and the music related books were all over my office.

Baby Genius has the best children's music series on the market, in my opinion. I love their philosophy:

Why Music Matters

Research studies have linked music with enhanced brain development as well as increased language, memory, coordination and social skills. Moreover, children instinctively love singing, dancing, rhythm and rhyme! All Baby Genius products feature music as the central core to the discovery and learning process.

Manipulatives are also important teaching tools for preschoolers. It's interesting how these types of toys can be scattered around a room and completely ignored by a child, but when you group them under one theme, they become something brand new to explore.

Never underestimate the power of a few containers. Children are always curious to investigate what goodies might be hiding inside, and it makes clean-up time a breeze.

And here's our fun list of music-related picture books:

Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin by Lloyd Moss
Illustrations by Marjorie Priceman

Ingenious, sprightly rhymes and energetic, vivid pictures introduce the youngest readers to musical instruments and the composition of an orchestra.

Abiyoyo by Pete Seeger
Illustrations by Michael Hays

Pete Seeger's storysong Abiyoyo has delighted generations of parents and children. The tale of how a father with his magic wand and a boy with his music triumph over the giant Abiyoyo is based on a South African lullaby and folk story.

M is for Melody: A Music Alphabet
Written by Kathy-jo Wargin
Illustrations by Katherine Larson

From the oom pah pah of the brass section to the tickle and tease of the keyboard ivories, M is for Melody gives a music lesson in alphabet form. Instruments, composers, terms, and even musical styles are examined from A-Z in easy, read-aloud rhymes and expository, accompanied by colorful and engaging artwork. Based on MENC National Standards for Music Education, educators will find this a valuable addition to their classroom material.

You can find this little board book and CD at Target:

(I was a little disappointed in the sound quality, though.)

Animal Orchestra by Ilo Orleans
Illustrations by Tibor Gergely

It's musical day in Animal Town. This rhyming story about an animal orchestra and its hippo conductor is perfect for reading aloud. Children will have front-row seats as they imagine the rousing experience of a night at the orchestra.

(Perfect for toddlers!)

And these are adorable too:

Pictured on the left:

Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band
Written by Kwame Alexander
Illustrations by Tim Bowers

When a jazz-loving rooster sets his sights on winning a barnyard talent show, he realizes he can't do it as a solo act. He's up against the talents of Mules Davis's cool duo and Ella Finchgerald's singing group. Acoustic Rooster calls on friends like pianist Duck Ellington, singer Bee Holiday, and percussionist piggy Pepe Ernesto Cruz. Together, the foursome makes beautiful music as they rock the barnyard. And while they may not win first prize, Acoustic Rooster realizes he has the world's best jazz band and that's all that matters.

Pictured on the right:

Farmyard Beat by Lindsey Craig
Illustrations by Marc Brown

Author Lindsey Craig teams up with Arthur creator and bestselling artist Marc Brown in a toe-tapping farmyard dance-a-thon—perfect for toddler and preschooler read-alouds. As soon as the sun goes down, the animals are up! ("Sheep can't sleep. Sheep can't sleep. Sheep can't sleep 'cause they got that beat!") Before long, there's a giant farmyard dance party, complete with funny animal sounds. But what happens when all the racket wakes up Farmer Sue? Here's a colorful bedtime story that begs to be read aloud.

On Top of Spaghetti by Paul Brett Johnson
Lyrics by Tom Glazer

On top of spaghetti
All covered with cheese
I lost my poor meatball
When somebody sneezed...

This well-known song is a hilarious reminder that when events don't go quite as planned, they can get awfully silly. Paul Brett Johnson's colorful language and folly-filled illustrations are a surefire recipe for a lip-smacking storytime. Served up with the original music and lyrics, it's sure to bring readers (and singers) of all ages to the table clamoring for more.

Puff, the Magic Dragon
Written by Peter Yarrow and Lenny Lipton
Paintings by Eric Puybaret

Puff, the Magic Dragon is simply one of the most beloved songs of all time—a classic that’s become as much a part of the childhood experience as Mother Goose and fairy tales. Yet singer/songwriter Peter Yarrow and co-composer Lenny Lipton have never allowed a picture book adaptation of this magical tale…until now. With Yarrow’s and Lipton’s blessing, Puff, Jackie Paper, and the land of Honalee finally live on the page. The exquisite package includes a cloth case with a tipped-in illustration and an embossed jacket with foil touches, as well as an exclusive CD featuring not only Puff, but several other songs performed by Yarrow, his daughter Bethany, and cellist Rufus Cappadocia.

Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes
Written by Eric Litwin
Illustrations by James Dean

Pete the Cat goes walking down the street wearing his brand new white shoes. Along the way, his shoes change from white to red to blue to brown to WET as we steps in piles of strawberries, blueberries and other big messes! But no matter what color his shoes are are, Pete keeps movin' and groovin' and singing his song...because it's all good.

The Wheels on the Bus by Paul O. Zelinsky
A Book with Parts That Move

Paul O. Zelinsky When The Wheels on the Bus, by Caldecott Medalist Paul O. Zelinsky, broke onto the scene twelve years ago, it created a sensation with its clever characters, sly subplots, luscious colors, and the incomparable flair of its moving parts. Almost a million young readers have enjoyed the wheels that go round, doors that open and shut, and people who go bumpety-bump. Today it remains as fresh and engaging as when it was first published.

Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors
Written by Joyce Sidman
Illustrations by Pamela Zagarenski

With original and spot-on perceptions, Joyce Sidman brings the colors of the seasons to life in a fresh light, combining the senses of sight, sound, smell and taste. Illustrator Pam Zagarenski's interpretations go beyond the concrete, allowing us to not just see color, but feel it.

Pictured on the left:

Duke Ellington by Andrea Davis Pinkney
Illustrations by Brian Pinkney

His name was Edward Kennedy Ellington, but people just called him "Duke." Born in 1899, he was the forerunner in the evolution of jazz. By the time Duke was nineteen he was playing at parties, pool halls, and cabarets; and then, in 1927, he entertained at the hottest place around, The Cotton Club in Harlem. But the defining moment of his career came when Duke and his orchestra gave a groundbreaking performance at Carnegie Hall, when they first performed his suite Black, Brown, and Beige, a tribute to the history of African American people. Beloved by jazz fans old and new, Duke Ellington, the "King of the Keys," is a legend who continues to live on and influence musicians everywhere.

Pictured on the right:

Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuosa
Written by Andrea Davis Pinkney
Illustrations by Brian Pinkney

Ella Fitzgerald began her life as a singer on the stage of the Apollo Theater when she was just seventeen years old, an unknown orphan in Harlem. Her rich voice and vocal innovations brought her fame, fortune, and a remarkable career than spanned over half a century and won her generations of fans around the world. Acclaimed author Andrea Davis Pinkney tells Ella's inspiring story in the voice of Scat Cat Monroe, a feline fan whose imagined narrative sings with the infectious rhythms of scat. Three-time Caldecott Honor winner Brian Pinkney's dramatic perspectives and fantastical images offer a jazzy improvisation all their own.

For Baby (For Bobbie) by John Denver
Illustrations by Janeen Mason

This love song by John Denver adapted as a picture book makes a great a baby gift, but it also will help set a calm sweet mood in a classroom. Sunny, colorful illustrations show families and animals from around the world as the song’s lyrics express unconditional love. It’s a wonderful teaching tool for young children of how parents—both human and non-human—love their children in very much the same way all over the world. A map in the back and a description of the animals shown will help spark discussion with your young ones. The song is one of the most beautiful John Denver ever wrote; the CD comes with the hardback edition.

(So sweet!)

Mickey's Farm Sing-Along by Disney Enterprises

Several well-known nursery rhymes tunes with new Mickey Mouse on the Farm inspired words for added fun.

And we already had these plush toys:

(This was a fun project, eh?)

The minutes fly, the music ends,
And so, good-bye to our new friends.
But when they've bowed and left the floor,
If we clap loud and shout, "Encore!"
They may come out and play once more.

(Another favorite stanza from Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin.)

Encore!  Encore!

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