Picture Book Review: Allegro

Allegro by David W Miles
Allegro: A Musical Journey Through 11 Musical Masterpieces
by David W Miles,  Anita Barghigiani (Illustrations)

5 out of 5 stars

A little boy named Allegro is fed up with practicing piano. He throws his sheet music on the floor, and petulantly sits and thinks about music. He goes on a magical journey to discover new music and how beautiful music can truly be. Through all the different moods and styles of classical music, he learns to love and appreciate the emotions and sensations that music can offer to us.
This book includes short recordings of famous classical pieces such as Fur Elise, New World Symphony, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, The Nutcracker, Ode to Joy, and Claire de Lune. At the beginning of the book on the end pages, there are short one-paragraph bios of the composers along with a photo or painting of the composer. At the back of the book, there are one paragraph descriptions of the music pieces featured in the book. These describe what inspired the piece, who it was dedicated to, or how it became famous.

The main story is very simple with only a sentence or two on each page. I love that this is kept short and sweet for young readers, and the emphasis is on the music recordings to tell the real story instead of relying on text.

Of course, the sound quality is not fantastic, but what do you expect from a little speaker in a book? It’s the best quality that I could reasonably expect to find in a book of this type, and I am satisfied with it.

The illustrations are gorgeous and bright! I love the soft lines and whimsical designs. In many of the illustrations, musical instruments are used to make up the landscape. A drum becomes a mountain. A line of staff notes becomes a beach. A cello becomes a rolling hillside of grass. The whole design is charming!

I loved the character of Allegro and how enthusiastically he grows to love music. He’s such a cute little guy! He throws himself heart and soul into the music, and his facial expressions are so eloquent.

As a professional musician and piano teacher, I came into this book with HIGH expectations. I was not disappointed! I love the selection of classical music, and the beautiful story of musical discovery.

Personal Story Time:
I had just received this book in the mail, when my little 2-year-old niece visited me at work, and sat at my desk in the office, and I thought, “What am I going to do with this 2-year-old in my office?  Aha! I have a children’s book for her to read while she sits here!”
SHE LOVED IT!!!!  She pushed all the buttons, we matched up the pictures in the book to the pictures on the buttons. We listened to the music, and said, “This song is sad. This song is happy. This song has marching soldiers.”  It was so fun!  She kept saying, “Again! Again! Turn the page!”
Needless to say, this book gets 5 stars, both from myself and from my niece!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.

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