The product was provided free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
I grew up listening to classical music all the time, played several instruments, and studied classical music in college, even playing in the symphony orchestra there. I love sharing my passion for classical music with my children. I was excited to check out “Simply Fantastic: An Introduction to Classical Music”, which is a great way to get children involved in experiencing classical music. This is the second book from The Secret Mountain that introduces children to classical music, following “Listen to the Birds”, which won a Parents’ Choice Gold award.
Simply Fantastic is a nice 8×8″ hardcover book with a companion CD stored inside the cover. This set is recommended for ages 7-9. My daughter is 7 years old, and this was a perfect fit for her, as she is able to read the book as a companion to the CD. This is an age where she is learning and retaining so much, and I love giving her such a nice introduction to classical music. The CD is 37 minutes and the book is 72 pages, which is a great length to allow kids and others to explore classical music without being overwhelming.
The musical compositions in this book are all inspired by ancient legends, old superstitions, or classic fairy tales. In other words, each piece has a story to tell, making it easy for children to connect to the music and gain a better understanding of the music. Much of the music throughout the book imitates sounds such as voices, laughing, footsteps, and movement. And some of the tracks have vocals while others are simply instrumental.
Each track gets a set of pages (left and right) full of amazing images and also some paragraphs talking about the music. We read about gnomes, trolls, fairies, elves, queens, and more. The book also provides some history of the piece, such as about the composer. There are also interesting facts, such as how “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” was composed in 1897 and then featured in Walt Disney’s film “Fantasia” in 1940 (with Mickey as the apprentice, of course).
The book also has other sections including:
~ Listening Guide
~ The Composers
~ Glossary of Musical Terms
~ Timeline of Composers and Periods
I love that the book is broken down into parts, because otherwise I imagine it could be overwhelming for kids. You can either read the story behind the piece or the track listing as you listen to the music, and then delve into other parts of the book. It allows the reader to explore different things at their own pace, such as learning more about the composers.
The artwork in this book, by award-winning illustrator Claudia Legnazzi, is downright stunning. The images are vivid and engaging, and bring the music to a whole other level especially for kids. It sets the mood for the music, and the images draw you in to the story.
This product was provided free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
Simply Fantastic: An Introduction to Classical Music (Book+CD)
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