A review of A Note for Children written and illustrated by Linda Hannah Young
Posted by: PEAdmin on Saturday, January 23, 2010 - 11:13 am
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.
"A Note for Children"
By Elisa Garcia, Author, Scriptwriter,Texas - USA
Educators have long sought to meld instruction with entertainment; after all, learning with laughter is the surest method of imparting a lifelong lesson and is, ultimately, the hallmark of an inspired teacher.
Linda Hannah Young's "A Note for Children" scores beautifully on both counts.
In what will certainly emerge as the music teacher's most prized tool, "A Note for Children" blends beginning notation concepts with a seamless narrative to yield a delightful, deceptively simple, introduction to rhythmic verbiage and theory. The tale, set "just north of the Land of Bass" in The Land of Treble Clef, also serves to lay the foundation for eventual rhythmic placement .... yet it's the ingenious method by which these building blocks of musical education are constructed which truly distinguishes "A Note for Children" from similarly-themed books already on the market:
The secret? Young literally enlivens the notes!
Each of them -- whole, quarter, and everything in between-- are personified! The result is a zany and quirky assortment of characters who come together for fun, adventure, and, yes, beautiful music. From the staid and solitary "Grand-pa-pa-pa" (whole note) to the seldom separate lovebirds, "Mr. & Mrs. Quaver" (eighth note(s)), Young's take on teaching introductory, exploratory notation exemplifies creative arts application at its most sophisticated, yet accessible, level; that these characters are so instantly and memorably relatable to the beginning audience is testament to this veteran author/teacher's considerable instructional skill. Within these pages, it is easy to forget the story's primarily educational objective when presented with such personalities as the lovely, often upside-down, Mrs. Minim, and the clean, also often upside-down, Mr. Crochet, both of whom represent key musical functions. So, too, is it easy to forget that Young's clever characterizations and subtle value introductions ultimately function as a precursor to reading note placement. Advanced students also benefit, and not just in a material review/ refreshment capacity; the book is peppered throughout with such higher concept references as legato, fermata, and time signatures. The result, of course, is effective, enjoyable, and non-overwhelming education for all.
Technical concepts aside, "A Note for Children" also expounds on its fundamental lessons to encourage student creativity. In what is perhaps this book's most winning attribute, "A Note for Children" includes six original songs which naturally lend themselves to individual composition! Budding musicians will appreciate the ease with which these catchy melodies are remembered and, later, elaborated upon. Educators will marvel at the ease with which complex ideas are so accurately conveyed.
Rest assured -- Linda Hannah Young's "A Note for Children" is certain to strike a resounding chord in your students' beginning musical foray!
A Note for Children: an Imaginative Journey into Music
By Cheryl Reif-Snyder, Ph.D.
Styled as a friendly letter from a worldwide traveler, A Note for Children introduces children to the whimsical land of “Treble Clef.” There, author Linda Hannah Young creates appealing and memorable characters that demonstrate a variety of simple rhythmic notations—such as the quarter note, Mr. Crotchet, who only walks (walk-walk-walk-walk,) and the half note, Ms. Minim, who only slides (slid-ing—slid-ing.) The imaginative character descriptions are coupled with colorful, computer-enhanced watercolor visuals and simple memory aids that will help children to learn and remember the meanings of different types of rests, notes, and more. Each concept is accompanied by a simple song that lets children practice their new music knowledge.
The book’s playful characters and stories grew from Young’s ten-plus years’ experience teaching music. Through story, she translates abstract musical concepts into language and examples that children can understand—and remember. This book provides an invaluable tool to help parents and educators introduce children to the basics of music notation. In addition, the text is sprinkled with more advanced concepts for those students who are ready for additional challenge. Accompanying features include simple songs that reinforce learning points and a glossary of musical terms. The book ends with hints at a broader world of music, still awaiting the reader’s discovery.