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Vlasta van Kampen and Irene C. Eugen. Illustrated by Vlasta van Kampen.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic-TAB, 1989.
40pp., cloth, $13.95.
ISBN 0-590-73161-0. CIP.

Subject Headings:
Animals-Juvenile fiction.
Musical instruments-Juvenile fiction.
Orchestra-Juvenile fiction.

Grades 1-4 / Ages 6-9

Reviewed by Frances Nokes.

Volume 18 Number 1
1990 January

Announcing itself with a marquislike cover full of pizzazz, this title does not disappoint. Orchestranimals is a unique multi-level title featuring wonderful illustrations of animals and orchestral instruments, all brought together in a clever patterned story.

A conductor-penguin calls together his animal orchestra for a performance. He needs "players to bow, players to blow, and players to hit the beat"! Each member shows up late with an excuse concerning his or her instrument, and the conductor is increasingly bemused as time runs out. Finally, two problems are solved at once when Crash, the monkey-cymbalist, appears at the last moment, just as the performance is beginning. Climbing out of the hippopotamus' tuba (the hippopotamus hadn't quite been able to figure out why he couldn't achieve a sound), the monkey crashes his cymbals right on cue!

Young children will appreciate the humorous situations, enjoying the appearance of both animals and instruments; older children, or those more experienced orchestrally, will also take an interest in the piece of information offered for each musical instrument. Samples of musical notation for the varying instruments as they appear complete the visual presentation.

Eugen's background in music (she is a recent graduate of the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto) befits her accomplishment in this musically executed musical story. Van Kampen's illustrations have strong interest in their own right while simultaneously serving the purposes of the text. Her musical instruments are suitable for visual reference. With her animals she strikes a balance between precision, affection and humour. Dramatic interest abounds as an uproarious sense of impending disaster provides the common thread for a captivating variety of tableaux. Nevertheless, all comes off well with curtain calls and bravos and roses strewn. ("Same time tomorrow?" mutters the conductor.)

Frances Nokes, Winnipeg, MB.
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