1 - A Note for Children – full colour picture story book, soft cover
1 - CD with 6 original tracks
It's very clever, and whether the book is used as a serious learning tool to accompany formal lessons, or just another entertaining read that will impart an understanding of music to young children, it's a valuable and innovative book that will enhance any child's library or make a superb gift.
Reviewed by Magdalena Ball
A Note for Children
written and illustrated by Linda Hannah Young
Paperback, ISBN: 9780980407105, July 2007, 32pages
I often wonder why more music theory isn't taught in public primary schools. There's plenty of evidence that learning music at an early age can help with a range of skills, from literacy to numeracy, and a whole welter of motor skills too. Besides, when it's done right, it's so much fun, tapping into children’s innate understanding of rhythm and sound. Linda Hannah Young is an author, illustrator, and music educator who knows exactly how to make the best use of 'fun' to make music theory accessible to the youngest children. A Note for Children plays on the two meanings of the word "note", as it is written in the form of a warm letter or note to children, all about a special land ("the Land of Treble Clef") where the occupants are all notes.
The book is easy to read, and contains simple, colourful watercolours that are rich with characterisation, enticing to children, and illustrative of the concepts they're presenting. As a complete metaphor, the Land of Treble Clef is that space where music happens, and each note interacts with other notes in a way that creates music. In a more concrete way, the Land is a funny place where music notes and notation each has a role to play in the community, and every role or individual trait is critical. The narration works on its own merits, but also teaches a range of music words like Legato, fermata, and rests, along with different notes like the minim, the crotchet, and the quaver. The book is neatly set out, with a family tree, and songs for children to sing or play at the end. It's a light-hearted and funny book with a serious teaching intent, and can be used for a series of very effective lessons.
The personification of the notes is something that make memorising sounds very easy, as children sing about "Grand-pa-pa-pa" or watch the effect of "dirt" turn "walk" into a "walk-a" and "slide" into "slid-ing-and". It's very clever, and whether the book is used as a serious learning tool to accompany formal lessons, or just another entertaining read that will impart an understanding of music to young children, it's a valuable and innovative book that will enhance any child's library or make a superb gift.
About the reviewer: Magdalena Ball is the author of Repulsion Thrust, Sleep Before Evening, The Art of Assessment, Quark Soup, and, in collaboration with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Cherished Pulse and She Wore Emerald Then.