Before Music: Where Instruments Come From by Annette Bay Pimentel, illustrated by Madison Safer

Published by Harry N. Abrams

Summary:  Each section of this book begins with a person observing a natural phenomenon, like the sound rocks make when banged against each other, the sound of a silk thread being plucked, or the sound of air through a reed.  From there, the narrative looks at how that particular item inspired the creation of musical instruments, instruments in different categories (“rock instruments that are struck”, “rock instruments that are blown”) and musical innovators.  Includes a list of selected sources and instructions for making your own instrument.  88 pages; grades 3-7.

Pros:  An excellent addition to any music library, encouraging readers to look deeper into the history of music and instruments, with fabulous illustrations portraying instruments and musicians.

Cons:  This book is almost 15 inches tall, which felt unnecessarily large and unwieldy to read.  Also, I would have appreciated a table of contents, index, and/or glossary to give a little more structure.

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