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Book of the Week

Classical music and the composer Vivaldi has been the inspiration behind Gabriella’s Book of the Week.

Gabriella has selected The Story of Orchestra – Four Seasons in One Day  written by Katie Cotton and illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle.

Gabriella’s reason for her choice: “This is  a beautifully illustrated book. I love how you can listen to Vivaldi’s music whilst reading the story.”

Mrs Harvey would support Gabriella’s recommendation. The book was gifted to our Grimsdell  library from one of last year’s Year 2 pupils, Moremi. She gave the book as part of the Year 2 Lasting Legacy initiative and it has proven to be a popular choice amongst our Grimsdell readership. It is a multisensory book that is a wonderful way to introduce children to classical music.

The story follows a little girl called Isabelle and her dog, Pickle, as they travel through the four seasons in one day. Accompanied by pieces from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, this is the first title in a series of sound books that bring classical music to life for young children. As you accompany the main character on her journey through the book, you press buttons to hear ten excerpts from The Four Seasons violin concerti.

It is a unique, beautifully illustrated book that allows children to explore the music of Antonio Vivaldi’s composition The Four Seasons through pressing a small sound button on each page, which illustrates the different seasons.  The illustrator uses different colour palettes to match the season depicted and the illustrations provide a wealth of information which encourages the reader to deepen their understanding of the story.  Illustrations are not just pretty pictures that liven up the pages. Illustrations are visual aids that bring the story to life and help to move the narrative ahead. Images that are conceptualised well help  children to comprehend the written text and relate to the characters in the story. It has rightly been said that ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’.

At the back of the book, you will find a short biography of the composer, Antonio Vivaldi, with details about his composition of The Four Seasons . Next to this, you can replay the musical excerpts and, for each of them, read a discussion of the instruments, rhythms and musical techniques that make them so powerful. A breakdown of each of the excerpts from The Four Seasons is given, with hints as to some things to listen out for in the music, such as: “The little jumpy trills sound like people trembling in the icy snow. The solo violin enters playing very fast  notes that leap up and own,  like an icy wind whipping around you.” This encourages children to use their imagination and engage fully with the music.

Finally, there is a  glossary which defines some of the musical terms within the book.

Happy Reading!

Mrs Harvey