My 16-month-old niece refused to eat dinner without Poppy and the Orchestra by her side. This was after reading it – and its companion musical storybook, Poppy and the Brass Band, at least 10 times during the day.
These gorgeous books use Poppy and her woodland friends to introduce young children to musical instruments using classic orchestral and big band tunes. For a kids’ storybook, the sound quality is excellent.
Plus, good news for parents: there’s even an ‘off’ switch on the back cover (that’s very difficult for little fingers to turn ‘on’ again!) when you’ve decided that 68 renditions of Kazoo Busker is quite enough for one day!
Poppy and the Orchestra
With one page dedicated to each instrument, kids can press down on the instrument to hear solo snippets of 16 instruments, including a xylophone, piccolo, cello and more.
In the finale on the last page, you can hear the whole orchestra play a fragment of Saint-Saën’s famous The Carnival of the Animals. The glossary at the end tells you where each instrument’s snippet has come from. It’s such a wonderful way to introduce kids to classical music. Even Turandot‘s Overture gets a mention!
Poppy and the Brass Band
Poppy goes to the circus and discovers 16 musical instruments of the big brass band! She meets a clarinet-playing ostrich, a tightrope-walking, trumpet-playing elephant and more.
Just for giggles, there are entertaining sound effects when something falls on Poppy’s head, and again when Poppy has a smooch with the sheep up on the trapeze.
The sounds of the brass band instruments join together at the end for a round of A. Gould’s Parade of the Clowns.
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s Jams for Juniors
As I explored the Poppy books with my niece, it occurred to me that these books, combined with a Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Jams for Juniors subscription, would make a brilliant gift for a toddler or preschooler in your life.
James for Juniors are musical workshops designed for babies and children aged up to 5 years, and their carers. They’ll explore and play with the MSO, led by presenter Karen Kyriakou, at Iwaki Auditorium in the ABC Southbank Centre.
Giving the gift of classic music
As a classically-trained musician myself, I’m a huge believer in giving kids the gift of classical music early in life. It’s so calming and so much fun for them.
My husband is a gifted piano player and I’ve sung in both the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Chorus and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra Chorus. Neither of us are professional musicians now, but the discipline we learned from practising every day and learning complex pieces of music has been invaluable.
Not to mention the great joy it brings us to play and sing with our kids now! I’m secretly working on my 7-year-old to take up guitar lessons. He’s got his heart set on learning drums… Wish me luck!
Disclosure: I received a copy from the publisher for the purpose of review. This post contains affiliate links.