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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Violin lives with her family in a music store. Do you know who her family members are? Well, you see, she’s part of the String Family: Viola, Cello and Double bass and, of course, Violin. There’s lots of music in the music store and Violin wants to join in to make her own music, but she doesn’t know how. She visits other musical families in the store; the Woodwind Family, the Brass Family, and the Percussion Family. And, of course, there’s the grand piano who is really part of two families: the Percussion Family and the String Family. Each family makes its own uniquely beautiful sounds. When the families join their talents to become an orchestra, Violin is given a special seat at the front, with the name ‘concert master’ on it. Violin has found her place in the orchestra and now she can make beautiful music with all the other music families. She can perform with a “crescendo of confidence.”
Courtney Woodward’s picture book story, Family Dynamics: Embrace Your Sound, is a clever way to teach young readers about the musical families of the orchestra. She introduces each family with care, as Violin wanders around the music store. Not only will young readers learn what the instruments look like and their names, but they will also learn something about the sounds they make, how those sounds are made, and their position in the orchestra. The theme may be about musical families, but this story has an underlying theme of families in general and how important it is to work together to be the best we can be in everything we do. There is also a valid point about accepting our differences and shining with the gifts that are uniquely ours. Young readers can download musical family pictures to color. Beautifully told and illustrated.