Our Favourite Children's Music Books
By Renée Jones
This interactive board book is the ideal introduction to orchestras for babies and toddlers. What chubby fingers can resist buttons that make music after all? Animals introduce sections and instruments of the orchestra, and at the end of the book, they all join in to play together. A simple overview - perfect for the littlest musicians!
#The ABC Animal Orchestra
Who doesn’t love a goat banging a gong, or an owl playing an oboe? This A-Z picture book pairs animals with instruments, and given you need 26 to complete the set, it becomes quite the cacophony! Aimed at inquisitive pre-schoolers, this book will expand their understanding of instruments beyond the kitchen pots and pans, whilst encouraging them to spot other words that begin with the feature letter.
#The Very Noisy Bear
Anyone who agonised over what instrument to learn will resonate with this charming tale. Follow along with Bear as he tries out different instruments at the encouragement of his friends. Short and sweet, and in rhyming form, this delightful book is an easy read and the perfect introduction to the joy (and noise) of music. It comes in both board book and picture book form, so can be enjoyed by wilful toddlers, and appreciated by preschoolers too.
#The Walkabout Orchestra
Weary of Where’s Wally? This is for you! Modelled on the popular series, this engaging book encourages young readers to search for members of the orchestra in different locations around the world. Readers are given a postcard from each destination, with the invitation to find a particular musician and their instrument. It’s a fun and interactive way to discover the diversity of instruments that make up an orchestra, as well as learning more about the world too.
#The Story Orchestra Series
Jessica Courtney-Tickle & Katy Flint
These books have nailed the format by providing audio accompaniment to the story, helping the music to come alive for young readers. Based on five well-known works – Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals, Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, and The Nutcracker – each page has a musical highlight that breathes life into the story. Children will love pressing the play buttons as they read the next part of the narrative. And never fear, the sound quality is high, so you won’t be tempted to ‘retire’ the book to the top shelf!
#Once Upon a Rhythm
James Carter & Valerio Vidali
All children have an innate sense of rhythm, so they’ll be excited to learn more about this toe-tapping art form in this vibrantly illustrated book. It charts the history of rhythm from the earliest days of tribal music, through to the bands and jazz clubs of today. The rhyming verse captures a sense of rhythm that is a pure joy to read. Grab your percussion and tap along!
#The Flying Orchestra
Written by a Brisbane author, this whimsical tale is a convincing introduction to the power that music has to evoke our emotions. A lonely traveller is accompanied by a melancholic violin, and an airport arrival is celebrated with a symphony. The orchestra even plays when someone learns to ride a bike! So much of music appreciation is bound up in how it makes us feel, so it’s refreshing to find a children’s book that addresses this so creatively. Locals will take great delight in spotting Brisbane landmarks throughout the playfully illustrated pages.
#This Jazz Man
Karen Ehrhardt & R.G. Roth
‘This jazz man, he plays one, he plays rhythm with his thumb…’ This book is a creative re-working of the familiar childhood tune, and an invitation to count to ten with some of the most influential African-American and Afro-Cuban jazz musicians. Young children will love the rhythmic language and fun sounds, while older children will enjoy reading about the musicians’ careers in their biographies at the back. A fun way to count and practice alliteration!
Avalon Nuovo & David Doran
Think of this like an illustrated encyclopedia for orchestras! Covering everything from the way instruments are made, the way sound is produced, the layout of an orchestra, instrument groups, and so much more. This comprehensive book has all the answers to questions your children haven’t thought of yet. There’s even a section on notable composers and the works that made them famous. We’d recommend this book for children already learning music, to help them understand how their instrument fits into the bigger picture. Accompanied by stunning illustrations, this is a delight for parents and children alike!
#Thea Stilton and the Phantom of the Orchestra
A book for slightly older readers who may already 'know everything' and just want a good page turner! This engaging novel traces mysterious happenings during orchestra rehearsals for Romeo & Juliet. Follow the mice sisters as they try to track down the truth!