Music Book Review: The Story Orchestra -The Magic Flute

This month’s Music Book Review is another in the fantastic Story Orchestra series of books. I love this series, which takes famous pieces of classical music – some opera, some ballet, some orchestral music – and through either telling the story behind the opera or ballet, or writing a story to go along with the music, and combining that, Jennifer Courtney-Tickle’s beautiful illustrations and excerpt from the piece that each book is based on, the books bring the music to life for young readers. You can read my previous reviews here:

Music Book Review – The Story Orchestra, Four Seasons In One Day by Jessica Courtney-Tickle

Music Book Review: The Story Orchestra – Swan Lake

Music Book Review: The Story Orchestra – In the Hall of the Mountain King

The very first page of the book gives you an introduction to the story:

Once upon a time, the world was split into two lands. One land was ruled by the sun and the other, the moon. After a disagreement, they fought day after day, year after year. This was the way of the world, until a curious prince became lost in the mountains that separated these two kingdoms.

The tale of The Magic Flute is brought to life in this lovely sound book. Based on Mozart’s opera of the same name, the book has excerpts of Mozart’s music throughout the book which you can hear by pressing the musical note on the page.

At the end of the story, the book gives you a glossary defining some of the terms used either within the story itself or the description of each of the musical excerpts on the following page that your children may not be familiar with, such as “aria”, “melisma” and “opera”. There is also a very short biography of the composer along with a very brief introduction to the opera itself and a little historical context about the times when Mozart wrote this opera. Finally, you can hear all of the different excerpts from The Magic Flute in one place on the final page of the book. For each excerpt, there is a short description of the music as well as information about where in the opera you can find this particular excerpt.

The Magic Flute is a great introduction to opera for children with fun characters like Papageno and Papagena, the fairy tale story of a prince going on a quest to rescue a princess, and of course as in every good fairy tale, good triumphs over evil- or peace over war. Once you have read this book with your children you might want to consider listening to or even seeing the opera itself. Look out for a production, they are often on. Or checkout this version online/on TV:

Would your child enjoy this book? Well as always, you know your child best and the sorts of stories they enjoy. I don’t think the book is particularly frightening, although there are references to two lands being at war with each other, and needing to work out their differences to live in harmony with each other, so you may feel that is a bit much for very small children. In terms of understanding the story, I would say that depending on whether you are reading this to your child, or they are reading it for themselves, this is a great book for children aged 5 to 8. Of course with buttons to press to listen to the music, that is always a winner in my house with both children. And the buttons are quite light touch as well, meaning it is easy for quite young children to press them and get the music to play.

At the time of writing this book is available on Amazon priced at £13.99, but be aware that prices on Amazon do go up and down depending on availability. I have also seen this book available to buy in our local Waterstones and I am sure it is available from other good retailers.

If you have enjoyed reading my blog post, thank you. I am always looking for ideas for the blog, so would love to hear from you with suggestions for topics you would like me to cover in the future. Also, if you would be interested in supporting me to keep this blog running, buying the books to review here, and supplies to make the DIY instruments, for example, I would be absolutely delighted if you would consider buying me a coffee using the following link: Buy Me A Coffee Thank you!!


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