Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Book Talk Tuesday - Stories in Music: Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel

Ever since attending the Jim Weiss 'Live' story telling event, Dumpling and I have been revisiting some of our audio 'books' as that is just about the only way to stop her from reading in the car. 

For this week, I would like to share with you on an audio book or otherwise known as the "Stories in Music", which is part of the Maestro Classics series. Virginia Lee Burton is certainly no stranger in our household as we have read all her titles. One of our favourite is The Little House while the other is Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel. 

:: The story
Virginia Lee Burton has a unique gift in weaving nostalgic 'magic' in her stories which would usually leave me a tad wistful at the end of the tale and this story is no different. 

The story is about Mike Mulligan and his steam shovel Maryann who dug through mountains and canals and how they came to be almost phased out by new technology. In an attempt to prove that Maryann still has what it takes (where she can dig more in a day as compared to a hundred men in a week), Mike took on a challenge to dig a cellar in Popperville for its new town hall! Will Mike and Maryann succeed?

:: The Audio Book / Stories in Music CD
The CD comes in a digipak format and has a book included. The CD features the story and importantly the accompanied music (by the London Philharmonic Orchestra). The booklet consists of 23 pages and includes pages on on the music, interesting information on the Villeann pipes (a form of Irish bagpipes, which played the main melody in the CD), a music score (of the Mike Mulligan song) and even some activity pages. 

The CD has 8 tracks in total where it starts off with a narration on the story and includes information about the story. What we enjoyed must was the sections on "About the music" where there was explanation by the composer on the instruments used, hints to look for the 'hissing steam sound' and fun elements like the mimicking of airplanes, etc. After this was explained, in the next track (track 5), we then get a chance to try and identify those same elements, making it a fun and interactive segment especially during long car rides. 

A dot-to-dot activity page in the booklet

Lyrics to the Mike Mulligan song

Regardless of whether your child is already reading independently or is just learning to read, I would highly recommend this CD. Engaging, informative and fun, this CD is one prized collection which we have at home, that blends the beautiful tale with a musical experience. :)

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