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For this month’s Music Book Review I am looking at this Lift-the-flap book from Usborne, Questions and Answers about Music.
What child doesn’t like a lift the flap book? My two adore them, no matter the subject matter they can always be persuaded to look at a book with flaps. And we have a number of these books from publisher Usborne, on a variety of subjects. For this review, or only did I read the book but I got my 7 year old to read it too and tell me what he thought. I’ll let you know his opinion later in the post.
You know, the first thing I liked about this book was the Contents page, yes really! I loved the set of very simple and clear questions it posed with the implication that these questions would be answered by the end of the book.
As with all Usborne books, this one is full of lovely illustrations, and there are loads of flaps for the children to interact with on every page.
As the Contents page suggests, each page or double page spread concentrates on one of the questions from the Contents page, posing even more questions as it does so – What Is Music? How long until I am good? Who sits where in an orchestra? among many other questions. The format of the book both in terms of it being a Questions and Answers book and also a lift the flap book (questions are posed on the top of the flap, and you need to lift the flap to reveal the answer) works really well. The questions are quite diverse, so for example on the Who? page there are questions about who made an instrument, who invented an instrument, who are the best selling musicians of all time, and more. No one style of music is given preference, it is a musically inclusive book, which I like very much.
It is a lovely introduction for a child who is interested in music. It goes into quite a bit of detail without going too far to lose the interest of younger readers. You can dip in and out of the book, reading as much or as little as you like at each sitting.
A feature I really like is that the book also gives some listening examples via their Usborne Quicklinks web page. Every now and then you will see a symbol with musical notes in a black circle, and this means that by heading over to Usborne Quicklinks (the web address is given at the front of the book) it will take you to a YouTube video with a musical example of what the book is talking about. Obviously with children you want to be sure that what you are showing to your children online is appropriate content for them, and you should always supervise what your child is watching on the internet, but knowing that these videos are chosen by Usborne as good examples of the music they are talking about does give you confidence to share them with your little ones.
This book is part of a series of Lift-the-flap Questions and Answers books on various topics, such as Animals, Space, Feelings, Growing Up, Art. There are lots to choose from. Obviously we like the books about music best!
The age suggested for this book on the Usborne website is 6+ and looking at the suggested age range on Amazon, it says 6-9 as well. As with all books this is just a suggestion, and a book that is suitable for one 6 year old, may not be suitable for a different 6 year old or even a 9 year old. And children change so much from one year to another so while it may not sound it, an age range of 6-9 years is quite big. You know your child, and what they are interested in, and the sort of content they can be engaged by. I would also say, that the age this book is suitable for would also depend on whether you are reading it with your child, so able to answer questions they may have and see that they understand the book’s contents, or whether your child is reading it for themselves. I have 2 children, one has just turned 5 at the time of writing this post and the other is 7, nearly 8. I would have absolutely no hesitation reading this with my 5 year old, and I think probably I would have felt comfortable reading it with her from probably the Christmas just gone. She likes music (no surprises there given what I do!), and as I said above you can dip in and out of the book. So we probably wouldn’t read it all at once, but bits at a time. She doesn’t have the reading skills yet, of course, to read it for herself as she is only just learning. But she does like lifting the flaps and that keeps her engaged with these kinds of books.
I gave the book to my 7 year old to read for himself a couple of weeks ago. He was off school for the day with an illness that seemed to make something of a miraculous recovery as soon as I said he could stay home from school, so I thought I would put him to work for me (!) He said the book was good, that there was a lot in it that he didn’t know before so he felt he learned a lot. He liked the flaps, and thought that they made him want to read more, but he felt that the book was for children younger than him because he felt that he already knew quite a bit of the information in there. I don’t think there is much that I would disagree with with his review. I think the simple questions and simple answers given are fantastic, but probably geared more towards the younger part of the suggested age range. I would certainly hesitate to give this book to a 9 year old, maybe unless they were only just discovering music and wanted to learn more about it.
At the time of writing this blog post the book is available on Amazon priced at £7.99, and if you want to go over to Amazon and have look, you can click on the affiliate link below. This means that if you decide to buy the book after clicking through on this link, I may earn a small commission from that sale, at no extra cost to you.
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