Tuesday, July 18

Animal Music by Julia Donaldson, Illustrated by Nick Sharratt

In accordance with the FTC Quill Café would like to disclose that the reviewer borrowed this book from the library because it had a hedgehog on it. The opinions expressed are his alone and no monetary compensation was offered to him by the author, illustrator or publisher. Cover art is copyright of Macmillan.

In this book, all sorts of animals are playing music. Except the hedgehog, he just hums. What are they trying to say? Hedgehogs can't play instruments? Why couldn't the hedgehog play the violin? They've got penguins playing the violin. PENGUINS! How is that even possible with their flippies?

I have been carried away. I shall compose myself. But not to music because apparently I can't play an instrument. Just hum. Hmph.

The animals in this book include dogs, hippos, a koala, and some seafood. Is that derogatory? Sea creatures. They croon and play the spoons. I think that they have rebelled against a seafood restaurant. They have taken up the utensils that would be used to eat them and reclaimed their freedom, making music from strife.

There is a bison playing the cello that has phenomenal balance. Then there is a tiger and a carthorse. What makes a carthorse a carthorse? Is it a cart? Because this carthorse doesn't have a cart. Is a carthorse still a carthorse if it has no cart? The tiger is beating a drum near the carthorse's ear. I expect is aggravating, but if he complains he will be eaten.

There are also some turtles. Real turtles, not tortoises calling themselves turtles. I'm looking at you teenage ninjas! Then there is a gerbil playing a camel. Does a camel constitute as a musical instrument? Is it polite to jump around on a camel and use it as your own bouncy castle/bongo drums?

They are all playing music of different genres – pop, classical, blues and more. They are either clashing terribly or playing different set pieces. Each animal wears a sparkly red bow or bowtie. Among the animals are a diverse group of children, dancing and singing. It is night-time and they have no adult supervision.

I must conclude that this book is taking place at an international music festival to raise money for a children's charity. Or, the animals are brainwashing all of the children, and have done away with the adults. Maybe the humming hedgehog is a hypnotist! He must be the mastermind behind it all. Yes.

'Animal Music' is a book packed with simple rhymes, where alliteration abounds. It is good for early readers, though I cannot say whether there is anything nefarious subliminally hidden in the text. Read at your own risk.

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