Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


This bronze statue can be found in the
town of Bremen, Germany.  (The front
hooves of the Donkey have become
shiny - touching them is said to make
wishes come true.)
The Town Musicians of Bremen folktale from the Brothers Grimm seems a fitting tale for the day after Halloween...I recall feeling sorry as a child for the old Donkey, Dog, Cat, and Rooster, who were past their prime and consequently not useful  on their farms anymore.  They decide to become musicians and travel together to the town of Bremen. On the way, they see a lighted cottage; they look inside and spy four robbers enjoying their spoils. Standing on each other's backs, they hatch a plan to perform for the men in hope of gaining food. Their 'music' has an unanticipated effect; the men run for their lives, not knowing what the strange sound is. The animals take possession of the house, eat a good meal, and settle in for the evening. The thieves decide to return, but in the dark and confusion, the robber they send in to investigate becomes convinced the cottage in now inhabited by a horrible witch who scratched him with her long fingers (the Cat), an ogre with a knife (the Dog), a giant who had hit him with his club (the Donkey), and worst of all, the judge who screamed in his voice from the rooftop (the Rooster).  Well, the men flee and the animal musicians never do make it to Bremen, but live happily for the rest of their lives on the abandoned farm.

THE BREMEN-TOWN MUSICIANS, retold by Ruth Belov Gross, pictures by Jack Kent.

You can also find the story in Richard Scarry's ANIMAL NURSERY TALES. Watch the adorable Youtube video of the "Muppet Musicians of Bremen" song that my kids loved, below:

Another story your young musicians might enjoy is BERLIOZ THE BEAR, written and illustrated by Jan Brett (this one involves a mule!)  From the back cover: 
"The performers must get to the ball, (Berlioz leads one and all,) but their wagon and load are stuck in the road, and the mule has decided to stall!" 
It's fun to listen to Rimsky- Korsakov's "FLIGHT OF THE BUMBLE BEE" after reading this book.

Click HERE to read my past post, "Music Appreciation for Young Souls". (Titles reviewed include: MOLE MUSIC, by David McPhail; ZIN! ZIN! ZIN! A VIOLIN, by Lloyd Moss; Little Golden Book ANIMAL ORCHESTRA, by Ilo Orleans; and THE JAZZ FLY, by Matthew Gollub)

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