The Orchestra Pit

The Orchestra Pit

by Johanna Wright
     
 

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When a slightly befuddled but surprisingly endearing snake wanders into the wrong pit--the orchestra pit--peculiar things start to happen. A well-meaning snake interacts with the orchestral instruments, scares the musicians and conductor, and causes general chaos in this sweet and funny book by Johanna Wright, author of Bandits and Bunnies on Ice.

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Overview

When a slightly befuddled but surprisingly endearing snake wanders into the wrong pit--the orchestra pit--peculiar things start to happen. A well-meaning snake interacts with the orchestral instruments, scares the musicians and conductor, and causes general chaos in this sweet and funny book by Johanna Wright, author of Bandits and Bunnies on Ice.

A Neal Porter Book

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
06/09/2014
Wright’s (Bunnies on Ice) batty sense of humor should engage readers from the start as an inquisitive green serpent finds itself in an orchestra pit. “I have a feeling I’m in the wrong pit,” it muses. The snake is seen reclining in the tuba (“quite roomy!”), as well as considering the trombone (“almost as long as I am!”) and French horn (“Bonjour, French horn!”). It can’t understand the commotion it causes, or why the players are dashing for cover (“Something must have startled them”). Readers are also introduced to the woodwinds (“That oboe is rather charming,” says the snake, coiling up instinctively and swaying to the music) and strings, and a passage in which the snake compares the various sections’ sounds to animal noises (“The percussion sounds like a gorilla”) offers a useful educational simile amid the fun. Wright’s sprightly narration and sweet temper recall picture books of the pre-irony era, and the physical comedy in her acrylic paintings will keep readers absorbed—and laughing—until the snake returns to the “right” pit. Ages 2–6. Agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
"A playful, inviting introduction to the orchestra." - Booklist

 

"This charming introduction to the orchestra and its instruments was made to be shared with young children." - School Library Journal

 

"A snake meandering into "the wrong pit" leads readers through this appealing introduction to an orchestra and its instruments." - Kirkus Reviews

Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
“I have a feeling I’m in the wrong pit,” muses the lost green snake in Wright’s wacky and lovingly created picture book. After this opening, which places the context squarely before the reader, the book proceeds to provide us with a snake’s-eye view of the orchestra pit. The snake narrator has a charming sense of humor. In the process of this journey, young readers and listeners will learn about the instruments in an orchestra—winds, strings, percussion, and so on—before “hearing” the orchestra rehearse, just the way the snake does. All of it is delivered with the aid of puns, similes, and the comic effect of text and image, which sometimes run parallel and at other times slyly diverge. (Did that snake just swallow the bass?) A particularly satisfying touch is the ultimate image of the “right” pit. The text remains factual and precise, but the picture shows how the traveling snake has changed, as every traveler should. Varying tones of skin and hair indicate a diverse community. The animal control employee offers a hint of reality without disrupting the wacky narrative. Equal parts sweetness and silliness, this is a good blend for the target audience. Reviewer: Uma Krishnaswami; Ages 3 to 6.
School Library Journal
07/01/2014
PreS-Gr 2—Using a brief, simply worded text, Wright relates the adventure of a white-polka-dotted green snake in its own voice. Mistakenly arriving at an orchestra pit filled with young musicians tuning up for an impending concert, the creature first explores some brass instruments, commenting briefly on each one ("The trombone is almost as long as I am."). It startles some woodwind players, who climb a stage curtain; swallows the string bass ("I'm quite attached to the bass."); then hides in the piano when an animal warden with a net tries to catch it. Finally, the snake compares the sounds of some instruments to animals (horns and trombones to the elephant; woodwinds to a bird). But when the conductor arrives and the full orchestra begins to play, it heads for home ("Out of the wrong pit… /And into…/the right one")—a snake pit at the nearby zoo. The charm of the acrylic-on-canvas paintings lies in the sparingly drawn cartoon people and animals outlined and detailed with black India ink (lines and dots for hair and expressive facial features; musical notes issuing from an elephant's trunk). Backgrounds in shades of green, yellow, and beige are highlighted with aqua, terra cotta, and purple. This charming introduction to the orchestra and its instruments was made to be shared with young children.—Susan Scheps, formerly at Shaker Public Library, OH
Kirkus Reviews
2014-06-10
A snake meandering into “the wrong pit” leads readers through this appealing introduction to an orchestra and its instruments—brass, wind instruments, strings and percussion.Children in simple uniforms perform in a sunken outdoor amphitheater framed by trees. The snake’s narration channels a child’s guilelessness, but there are sly bits, too. Coiling attentively before a cross-legged musician on a round rug, the snake quips, “That oboe is rather charming.” After presenting the violin, viola and cello in their respectively graduating sizes, the snake confesses, “I’m quite attached to the bass.” A page turn reveals a dramatic central spread: The sheepish narrator has swallowed the bass fiddle whole! Some performers quail at the snake’s presence, of course; a benign animal-control guy conducts a brief, fruitless search. Visual and textual clues reveal the adjacent setting (a zoo) by likening the music to animal sounds: As the brass section plays, the snake asks, “Is that an elephant I hear?” Wright simply depicts the adult conductor’s instructive movements: arms drawn in close for “Quiet…” and outstretched for “Loud!” Thinly applied acrylic paint in green, purple and brown reveals the canvas’ weave, while black ink contours and delineates instruments, kids and animals. Dots and dashes depict facial features, but varying skin colors and hair textures suggest a diverse, engaged community.Back at the right pit, the snake twists into a treble clef—a charming endnote. (Picture book. 3-6)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781596437692
Publisher:
Roaring Brook Press
Publication date:
08/19/2014
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
709,106
Product dimensions:
7.90(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
2 - 6 Years

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