Our Marching Band

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Overview

Ralph loves the tuba. Maureen fancies the flute. Betsy likes the glockenspiel, and for Calvin it's the drum. Belinda prefers the trombone, Harry craves a clarinet, and Sam longs for a saxophone. And then there's Mae McCall-a natural born leader with a baton.

What's a group like this to do? Form a marching band, of course. It's not all beautiful music at first-when the kids play, the grown-ups cringe and cover...
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Overview

Ralph loves the tuba. Maureen fancies the flute. Betsy likes the glockenspiel, and for Calvin it's the drum. Belinda prefers the trombone, Harry craves a clarinet, and Sam longs for a saxophone. And then there's Mae McCall-a natural born leader with a baton.

What's a group like this to do? Form a marching band, of course. It's not all beautiful music at first-when the kids play, the grown-ups cringe and cover their ears. But these kids aren't giving up, and before long they have even the mayor convinced that practice does make perfect!

Author Biography: Lloyd Moss is host of The New York Times' classical music station WQXR and is the author of Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin.

When all the girls and boys in the neighborhood take up musical instruments, at first they produce awful tones, but after much practice they are able to come together as a marching band that brings brassy, classy fun.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
As this rhymed picture book begins, various kids in a town take up various instruments, like the piccolo, clarinet, trumpet and trombone, with predictably awful results. At first, the adults who heard them "groaned, And sighed and moaned. They sobbed and tore their hair!" Eventually, after lots of practice, they improve so much that the mayor asks them to play for the Fourth of July parade. Whimsical, cartoon-like illustrations help bring out the humor of the book. 2001, Putnam's, $15.99. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer:Gisela Jernigan
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-How do the young instrument-toting hopefuls who appear on the front endpapers of this musical story transform themselves into the energetic, smartly uniformed band racing across the back endpapers? "By never veering,/Persevering, early morn 'til late," from fall to spring. At first the efforts of Harry Horner, Shavaun O'Shea, Ralph Rosenstock, and their friends to learn to play their instruments disturb the neighbors, as, sobbing and tearing their hair they complain, "Confound that noise!/Those girls and boys are driving us insane!" But finally, their long hours of practice pay off and their melodious sounds so impress the mayor that she invites them to play in the Fourth of July parade. The silliness of the rhyming text, replete with alliteration and assonance, is echoed in Bluthenthal's zany cartoon watercolor illustrations. The pictures are large, many of them double-page spreads, and feature notes dancing across pages, exasperated neighbors covering their ears with their hands and even newspapers, and, in the end, an exuberant crowd proudly cheering its young people on. Observant readers will find many comical touches in these pictures, including a runaway drum that its player never does get under control. For more musical merriment, pair this title with Harriet Ziefert's Animal Music (Houghton, 1999).-Marianne Saccardi, Norwalk Community College, CT Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Just as he did with the wonderful Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin (1995), Moss makes child's play out of sophisticated verse that will keep young ears rapt. Here, it's a marching band that slowly gets assembled, as he identifies each aspiring musician and accompanying instrument: "One house away, Shavaun O'Shea, / In mapping out her life, / Had planned to blow a piccolo / (Which some folks call a fife)." As Ralph and Harry and Maureen get familiar with their trombones and sousaphones and glockenspiels, the neighborhood gets a taste of cacophony: " ‘That sound annoys! It near destroys! / They bellow and complain. / ‘Confound that noise! / Those girls and boys are driving us insane.' " But the learning curve is not too cruel and soon the band is good enough to impress the mayor, who invites them to the July 4th parade, where they do the town proud. "You sound so good. / When starting out, we had no doubt, / We always knew you would." Moss conveys not just the joy of music making, but, more subtly, the need to practice hard to get it right. Bluthenthal's (Bertie's Picture Day, not reviewed, etc.) cartoon art matches the verve of Moss's words, and provides for as much cultural variety in the players as there are instruments. Goggle-eyed kids, in various shapes and sizes, strut their stuff across pages of all-American landscape to the delight of their equally goofy parents. And just so you notice, the mayor is an African-American woman. Hip hip hooray! (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399233357
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 7/28/2001
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 11.28 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2002

    wonderful and funny

    This is a kid's book that is also fun for adults. The names of the kids are complicated, the book uses big words, and they all rhyme and the rhythm is captivating. Your kids will learn all the instruments in a band and you will giggle while you read it to them.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2002

    Great book for musical families

    We love this book in my family. My son is just starting an instrument and he has memorized the book. There are big words made fun and it is just terrific. This is for any family who has a child who is studying any instrument. It is smart enough to keep the parents engaged, and silly enough to make the kids laugh and want it read one more time before bed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2001

    Painless way to learn musical instruments

    Another great learning book like Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin. Our grandchild has already memorized the names of musical instruments in a marching band and he's only 2 and a half years old. Wonderful illustrations too.

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