The Orchestra Pit

illus. by Johanna Wright. 32p. Roaring Brook. Aug. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781596437692. LC 2013016729.
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
"I have a feeling I'm in the wrong pit." A snake wanders into an orchestra pit and starts exploring, giving readers a front-row introduction to different instruments. This is a slight premise for a story, but Wright's blithe cartoon illustrations provide lighthearted humor, such as when the snake listens, entranced, to the oboe. The snake's dry narration plays it straight.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing