We got this cute song book in the mail yesterday and it was an instant success. No sooner had I opened it than Bella was demanding, “Read the book, read the book, read the book.”
I opened it and was instantly delighted by the high quality art pictures from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The pictures are thoughtfully matched with the songs. Most of them are gorgeous and an attempt has been made to give a taste of the breadth of the museum’s collection with art works from all over the world and from Ancient Egypt to present day. True, not are all exactly to my taste; but there aren’t really ugly modern “art” pieces as seem obligatory in most of the Metropolitan Museum books I’ve seen.
The song selection is quite good. There are “nursery songs, ballads, play songs, lullabies, folk songs, spirituals and work songs, plus a sprinkling of patriotic music.” At Bella’s request I set to “reading” the book to her, singing all the songs that I knew (some in abbreviated versions). There were only about 20 out of the 140 songs whose tunes I didn’t know off the top of my head. We’ve been having fun looking those up on You Tube. Most of them have been there.
I can’t read music, but a simple musical setting (for piano or guitar) is provided with each song for those who do. I also can’t sing very well; but I do enjoy singing to my girls and this book is a wonderful opportunity to share with them many of the songs I recall from my own childhood. Of course Bella already knows quite a few of the songs in the book that were already in my repertoire. Others she picked up remarkably quickly. I caught her flipping through the book this morning and singing “Baa, baa black sheep” and “Old MacDonald had a farm.” I am sure as she grows more familiar with more of the tunes, she will add even more songs.
There are very good marginal notes as well that give a brief history of the songs or that draw attention to the works of art, commenting on the artist’s technique or symbolism, or that highlight a connection between the work of art and the song.
I can already tell this is going to become a favorite book and I am delighted that it will continue to speak to Bella and Sophia for years to come. I am very conscious that as a homeschooling mom I am going to be responsible for art and music appreciation and am very glad to find such an inviting book to help us get an early start.