________________ CM . . . . Volume VII Number 20 . . . . June 8, 2001

cover There is Music in a Pussycat. (A First Flight Level One Reader).

Richard Thompson. Illustrated by Barbara Hartmann.
Markham, ON: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 1999.
37 pp., pbk. & cl., $5.95 (pbk.), $12.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-55041-513-1 (pbk.), ISBN 1-55041-511-5 (cl.).

Subject Headings:
Sounds-Juvenile fiction.
Music-Juvenile fiction.

Kindergarten - grade 1 / Ages 5 - 6.

Review by Gillian Richardson.

*** /4

image A Level One Reader in the "First Flight" series, this book's rhythmic language makes it perfect for sharing aloud with preschoolers or Kindergarten aged children. This is a sensual treat; the focus is on simple sounds a young boy hears that are made by obvious things ("There is music in a snowdrift/When it's melting in the spring.") and those more subtle ("There is music in a paint brush, There is music in some chalk."). The poem ends in a meditative mood with the line... "There is music in the breathing earth, When we learn to hear the tune."

      Along with the lilting rhyme (or lyrics, since you could just as easily sing this book as read it), a trail of onomatopoeia in colourful type marches across the bottom of each page giving an appealing oral activity to accompany the poetry. A selection of these sound words is revisited on the last couple of pages as a recall activity: What was that? Jingle-clink. The repetition will encourage young listeners to memorize favourite verses and create new ones of their own following the language pattern: "There is music in a...." There is the added potential for thoughtful discussion about the sounds made by other things within a child's own experience or the question of when is a sound music rather than noise?

      The book is richly illustrated by Barbara Hartmann in happy, action-filled watercolour drawings, creating a harmony of text and art that draws the reader eagerly to the next page to see (and hear) the sounds the young boy discovers. The pussycat from the title participates throughout the poem in delightful scenes that cat-lovers will enjoy and which provide another layer of story. For example, what cat can resist the perfect place to curl up at nap time (see page 28)?

Highly Recommended.

Living in BC, Gillian Richardson is a former teacher-librarian and a published children's writer of fiction and nonfiction.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364