With time for music and dance being squeezed out of the primary school timetable, it seems important that we use every means necessary to encourage and inspire a love of music and dancing in children. This varied selection of picture is sure to cause music-making and merriment amongst their readers.
‘Jazz Dog’ by Marie Voigt (OUP)
In a world where dogs play rock and cats play jazz, a little dog who plays the saxophone doesn’t feel like he fits in with his peers. When he hears the beautiful music the cats are making, he feels like he may have found his musical home. But cats and dogs don’t mix. Right? Maybe the jazz contest will give this little dog a chance to prove otherwise?
Absolutely gorgeous, moody illustrations which perfectly match the ‘jazz club’ vibe of this story. An interesting text to explore the negative impact of stereotypes and prejudices with children and to look at how much better things can be if people work together. 3+
‘Once Upon a Rhythm’ by James Carter, illustrated by Valerio Vidali (Caterpillar Books)
This book is a rhythmic, pulsating journey through the history of music. From its drum-based origins, through communal songs, to written notation, choral and jazz – music is celebrated in all its many forms and guises.
I love the picture books of poet, James Carter; they are full of the most wonderful bouncing verse which just begs to be read aloud and clapped along too. Vidali’s vibrant illustrations add even more energy to the pages of this book which is, in essence, an ode to the powerful force of nature that is music. 5+
‘Leaping Lola’ by Tracey Hawkins, illustrated by Anil Tortop (New Frontier Publishing)
Jersey cow, Lola, has tip-tapping toes and leaping legs and she is desperate to go to the Black and White Ball that evening (despite not being black and white!) When her mother says she cannot go, Lola is not deterred. With a little help from her best friend, Pearl, Lola comes up with a plan to get in that might just work….
A joyful exploration of dancing just for the love of it and power of persistence. The illustrations are full of movement and humour to perfectly match the story. 3+
‘The Moosic Makers’ by Heather Pindar and Barbara Bakos (Maverick Publishing)
When Farmer Joni’s barn roof blows away in a fierce storm, Nutmeg and Celery the moo-sical cows decide to go busking to help raise money for a new one. They spotted by a smooth-talking agent and give dis-cow music a try, becoming overnight phenomenons. It soon becomes clear that George Smarm cannot be trusted – what are the cows to do?
Full of puns and wordplay, this book can’t fail to a-moos young readers dreaming of superstardom. 3+
‘Little Puggle’s Song’ by Vikki Conley and Helene Magisson (New Frontier Publishing)
Little Puggle the echidna has always wanted to sing but everybody knows that echidnas can’t sing. They can’t even make a sound – as all the other creatures in the bush are quick to point out. To make matter worse, the other animals are busy practising a song for Mrs and Mr Emu who will soon hatch their chicks. Will lonely Little Puggle ever be able to make beautiful music with his friends?
I loved that, as well as exploring the concept of music bringing everyone together and finding your inner musician, this story is also a celebration of the Australian bush in all its glory. There’s lots to talk about and discover in Magisson’s beautiful, soft illustrations. 3+
‘The Dinosaur Who Lost Her Voice’ by Julie Ballard, illustrated by Francesca Gambatesa (Egmont)
Milly Jo has been blessed with a beautiful singing which all the other dinosaurs love to listen to. When a frightful storm comes and an accident happens, Milly Jo loses her voice. What will Milly Jo and the other dinosaurs do? Can Milly Jo overcome adversity and find another way to make music for her friends?
The central messages of this story are resilience and working together as a team. It’s great that Milly Jo used her problem-solving skills to find another way to perform with her dinosaur friends and sends a great message to readers. 3+
‘Bauhaus Ballet’ words by Gabby Dawnay, illustrations by Lesley Barnes (Laurence King Publishing)
This book is a real treat for the senses! A whirling, twirling, leaping celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Bauhaus.
Inspired by the somewhat eccentric Bauhaus Triadic Ballet, the moving parts and pop-ups of this incredible book will hypnotise and entrance readers of all ages. Delicate parts mean that younger enthusiasts may require some supervision.
Bravo for these brilliant books!
*Many thanks to all the publishers who sent me these titles to review*