Book Review of A History of Music for Children
The Children’s Book Review
What to expect: Music, History, Non-Fiction
With its celebration of all things musical, this dramatically illustrated history book will enchant children and adults. Starting from the very beginning, before we thought of music as music, this book asks: what exactly is music, anyway?
With engaging illustrations that are so colorful they catch your eye and beg you to look them over again, this factual book is full of surprises. Not only does it outline what most people would think of as the history of music, like classical composers and modern pop idols, but it reaches out to do so much more. It looks at history, cave paintings, and ancient Egyptian tomb illustrations of women playing lutes and harps. There are fascinating accounts of early musical instruments dating back 40,000 years made of bone and the history of West African music and instruments, including the Kora and Balafon.
Not only is this a history book, but this is also, in a way, a musical encyclopedia. There are entries on the Orchestra and its instruments, including a small amount of history on the piano, wind instruments, and more. A favorite part of the book is section four: Feeling Music. Even as an adult, it’s absolutely fascinating to read about how music affects our brains and how things like long intervals (the space between notes in pitch) can make us feel something, like Dorothy’s longing for an adventure in The Wizard of Oz.
An excellent book for a classroom or the junior music enthusiast, A History of Music for Children is a fantastic symphony of musical delight.
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About the Authors
Mary Richards is an award-winning art publisher, writer, and illustrator. She adapted and edited David Hockney’s bestselling A History of Pictures for Children and is the author of Splat! The Most Exciting Artists of All Time.
David Schweitzer is a composer and songwriter. He has written music for children’s TV shows, including Charlie & Lola, The Cat in the Hat, Angry Birds, and Miffy. He has also scored documentaries and dramas, including the 2020 film Emma. Together with Mary, he runs a children’s orchestra in London.
About the Illustrator
Rose Blake is an award-winning artist and illustrator who has illustrated numerous books for children, including A History of Pictures for Children.