This is a delightfully colourful introduction to classical music, aimed to fire the imagination of young children aged 5-7 years. Readers are asked to think about the different places in which we might hear music, whether it is in a concert hall, or just on television. They are then introduced to a selection of famous composers including Mozart and Beethoven, and learn about each of the musical instrument families, from woodwind to percussion. Throughout the book children are referred to the accompanying CD so that they can hear examples as they read. Music on the CD includes Mozart's 'Magic Flute', Williams' 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone', Saint-Saens' 'Carnival of the Animals', Holst's 'Planets', Stravinsky's 'Petrushka'; and Prokofiev's 'Peter and the Wolf'.
An exuberant and fascinating introduction to instruments, melodies and composers alike - Handel, Brahms, Stravinsky, John Adams are all included - and comes with a CD, the carefully chosen tracks dovetailing nicely with the text. --Judith Woods
For younger listeners, My First Classical Music Book by Genevieve Helsby combines a picture book and a 69-minute CD in a venture that gives the project of introducing children to proper music its biggest boost since Peter and the Woolf. Dotted among Jason Chapman's lively illustrations are some facts even grown-ups won't know...and there is even a game attempt to evoke the special quality of minimalist music: "Listening to it is like staring at a fire, or at the sea; you find yourself stuck there, just watching, listening...'. Helsby does an excellent job of making classical msuic accessible and entertaining, with well-chosen CD tracks that kick off with the theme music from the Harry Potter films (by Carl Davis) and follow up with a rousing greatest-hits selection from Offenbach's Can-Can to Saint-Saens's animals, and just a small sample of the dread minimalism thrown in. A sticker on the cover recommends it for ages five to seven, though it would entertain anyone with a few gaps in their knowledge to plug and a few hours of summer leisure time to while away. --Karen Robinson, The Sunday Times