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Simply Fantastic: An Introduction to Classical Music    by Ana Gerhard & Claudia Legnazzi order for
Simply Fantastic
by Ana Gerhard
Order:  USA  Can
Secret Mountain, 2014 (2014)
* * *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Gnomes, fairies, witches, pixies, elves, magicians and other imaginary beings have piqued children's curiosity and been incorporated into scores of picture books down through the ages.

This book uses that interest as a way of introducing young people to classical music. In this marvelous picture book you'll find such stories and characters used in classical music. The composers bring these mythical creatures to life using either single instruments or perhaps a full orchestra.

Twenty specific selections - from The Gnome from Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition to Paganini's Witches' Dance and Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries - are presented here. Each selection is included in an accompanying CD, plus there is a two page spread in the book that incorporates a couple of paragraphs about the piece and an illustration.

A Listening Guide at the back of the book makes suggestions on what to focus upon or listen for as each selection is played. There is also biographical information about the various composers as well as a glossary of musical terms.

You won't find a more well thought out and attractive combination of music and reading material that will introduce children seven and older to classical music. This book should be in every school library and will be very useful for home schooling families. If you are a music teacher, this is a must purchase.

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