Toot, Toot, Hoot, Hoot Sounds from the Symphony

Flowerpot. Sept. 2022. 32p. Tr $7.99. ISBN 9781486722792.
PreS-Gr 1–Diverse sounds, puzzling (if not downright cacophonous) at first, are gradually revealed to be part of a performance. Together, they become music—and are followed by appreciative audience sounds: “woo woo woo, encore, encore, encore,” etc. All members of the orchestra and audience are lightly anthropomorphized animals of various sizes. Although they are said to be a “symphony” (usually a minimum of 50 members), this one comprises only six instruments: one brass, one string, four percussion, and a conductor wearing a bright floral cutaway tailcoat. However, the limited number will make it easier to pick out the instruments when listening to the sing-along YouTube video available via QR code. Sound-words are in colored type, and the textured line and color illustrations are vibrant, with aqua or orange tree trunks, a blue piano, and other kaleidoscopic choices. Some stereotypes prevail: Three animals wear flowers or bows, and one of these is referred to with a feminine pronoun; the conductor is referred to with a masculine pronoun. “Clashing” (cymbals) and “blasting” (trumpet) are used to describe instrument sounds, which are vivid, but not perhaps very musically appealing! Some children will need discussion of “presto” and “treble,” for example, but the Q&A format (“Did you hear that?”) works well.
VERDICT The smallest music-lovers can use this book as a prelude to more complex musical adventures.

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