Poppy and the Orchestra by Magali Le Huche (Illustrator)
Published by Allen & Unwin|Quarto Group USA
Date: 22 November 2017
Poppy and the Orchestra is a very special book, it was more than I could have hoped for when I opened it for the first time. It introduces children to musical instruments and the orchestra.
In this story we follow Poppy and her friends along the forest as discover each animal from the orchestra and their beautiful melodies. As they make their way through the forest the sounds come alive and the orchestra meets for one big concert.
There are little treasures throughout the whole book. The story tells us what each instrument is – such as Piano and then says …with so much feeling or …deep, rich sound – these words introduce you to how music might make you feel when playing an instrument or listening to it.
It took me a few times of reading the book to notice, but at the edge of each page is a portion of the animal that will be playing the instrument on the next page. For example you can see the trunk on the edge of the page and the next page is an elephant playing a violin. This adds something more to the story, getting the children to engage more by guessing the next animal.
The illustrations are quite expressive and show the different characters being moved by the music; some of them dancing, at other times with their eyes closed as they feel the music and leaping along as they feel the beat of the music.
There are some other sounds that can be played in the book such as a frog jumping and the duck splashing. I feel that these additions just distract from the story because the orchestral music is perfectly wonderful as it is. Not to say children won’t have fun with it, without a doubt they will but I just feel like its there to add more sound to the book rather than with purpose to the story. The book can be turned off at the back, and the batteries are securely in place and can only be replaced using a screwdriver.
I am really seeing great value in books like Poppy and the Orchestra because there is an added depth to it, children can still use their imagination and they can live the experience also. Music and words both encourage the development of literacy and putting them together is just an added bonus. Books like this engage children in forms of music they may never have heard before and opens their minds and hearts to different types of music.
I hope we see more books like this with other forms of music, I would love to see a rock one or a book with different types of instruments that belong to the same family like the piccolo and flute. I think there is so much scope for more books like this and I will be on the look out for them.
Thank you Allen & Unwin for the opportunity to read and review this book.