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This month’s Music Book Review is Rhythm Rescue, an interactive story written by Vicky Weber, a musician and elementary school teacher, and illustrated by Geneviève Viel-Taschereau.
The blurb on the back of the book says:
WELCOME TO MUSIC METROPOLIS, where there’s always a song to sing and instruments playing all around. Everyone has something special to share, but Beat Street is where the real magic happens.
This book is all about Tala, a resident of Music Metropolis, a super-special musician who has special powers brought to her by music and rhythm. In this interactive book readers are encouraged to clap a particular rhythm pattern, shown in the book with musical notation, to see how this rhythm helps Tala with her super powers. There are two separate rhythm patterns noted in the book and each one of them gives Tala different super power.
This is nicely set up at the start of the story, so readers already know that they can help Tala use her super powers by clapping the rhythm noted before she sets off on her adventure.
Tala is called by her friend to come over to play, and meets all sorts of obstacles on the way. Her musical super powers help her during her journey, and the story ends with Tala reaching her friend’s house, running off to play and wondering what the next adventure will be. It’s a lovely story for young readers, and I really like the fact that readers are encouraged to join in and help Tala by clapping rhythm patterns, and I love the idea in this book that music gives you super powers. An idea I am fully behind!
The illustrations by Geneviève Viel-Taschereau, are brightly coloured, bold, strong and cartoon like, perfect for the younger age group that this book is aimed at.
At the end of the book, Vicky Weber, shows how the musical notation in the book would be spoken or described in various different musical methods – there are different methods of teaching music, such as the Kodály method, and each of these has a way to describe musical notation when it is being taught – I learnt using numbers to count how long each piece of music notation would last for in a beat. So would count crotchets and quavers in a bar by saying, 1 2-and 3-and 4, for example.
If I were being picky about this book, it would be that without any musical training at all, or musical experience, either for the person reading the book or for the child the book is being read to, then it would be quite difficult to know how to play the musical notation. The information at the back of the book about how this notation can be counted or spoken can give you a hint, but this isn’t actually explained to the reader. So for any of you that wants to buy this book, but don’t have that musical training, here is how you would clap both of the rhythm patterns in this book.
My other, very picky, gripe is that after the end of the story, this explanatory page for the notation used and a couple of advertisements for more of Vicky Weber’s books, there is this page:
I am not sure what it relates to, and how it fits into the story, if at all, or whether it is meant to be there or has been placed at the wrong location in the book.
Picky gripes aside, this is a very nice book, and a lovely way to introduce music notation and the super powers that music can give you, to young children.
The book is very much aimed at younger readers; primary school for the UK where I am based, or elementary school in other countries. Once you understand the simple rhythm pattern (see my video above), then it is easy to encourage your children to join in and help Tala with her adventure.
At the time of writing the book is available on amazon priced at £9.58 for a paperback copy and £15.30 for a hardback copy. It is a lovely story, and one I enjoy reading with my 4 year old.
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