Sunday, August 13, 2017

Review: Tangled- It's Better When You Sing It

It's Better When You Sing It
A Musical Exploration Storybook
Hal Leonard Publishing 
Picture Book
ages 4+
32 pages

In this innovative musical exploration storybook, Rapunzel shows us that everything is better when you sing! This playful story uses music and creative play to help children experience the joy of singing and discover their own unique voice. The book includes special online activities, including a video read-along, an audio sing-along, and activities to explore sounds and singing. Ages 4+.


Not only does this book re-visit several special moments of Tangled, but throws in a good dose of musical fun, encouraging kids to play along.

From Rapunzel's tower to games in the forest with the animals, several scenes of the movie Tangled are flashed-back upon, and then a bit of music is added. Kids learn the basic concepts of tempo, loudness, duets and other variations of music in the most simple and understandable ways possible. Then, they are encouraged to do it themselves. 

Young fans of Tangled are sure to be won over with this musical adventure. The depicted scenes are ones which are familiar from the movie, always a glimpse on a two-page spread. Rapunzel is presented with the same spunky and tenacious attitude, which made her adorable in the film. But in this book, each scene is gently connected to music. For example, Rapunzel is shown doing her tower activities, which is explained very shortly in the text, and then added with a quick comment to hint at a musical activity. After the text, a 'It's Better When You Sing It!' circle asks young readers/listeners if they can do something such as sing, speak softly or make their voice go high and low.

This isn't the Tangled story being told again, and anyone who is expecting a tale will be disappointed. It's an activity book, which gets kids to use their voices and sing. Especially if the older reader plays along, kids will enjoy getting involved with every activity. There is a complete song at the end of the book, which can also be listened to and sung with kareoke style online. The online address also includes a read-along video (so kids can listen and watch the book all by themselves) and various activities like familiar children songs played fast and slow, voices going high and low, and games with the 'four voice' types. On top of all of this, there's a question session at the end of the book to revisit what young readers/listeners have learned, a glossary of terms (which seemed a bit silly for most words, since most are self-explanatory even for kids) and a note to assist the older readers, when trying to bring across music.

It's a fun read and really does invite kids to play along. The internet activities are cute and kids will get a kick out of visiting them. The correct terminology (crescendo, forte, pianissimo, etc) is completely ignored and could have been mentioned. Even if it can't be expected that kids understand or remember the foreign words, it would have been good for them to hear them. Otherwise, this was a fun read which is sure to get kids involved and teach them a few things about singing and music along the way. 

All about. . .

This book is authored by a Hal Leonard team of artists, designers, writers, music educators, songwriters and music producers, and based on an early childhood music curriculum commissioned by Disney Learning. Each of these hardcover picture books includes not only a charming, colorfully illustrated story that's perfect for ages 4 to 8, but also an array of musical exploration activities. To add to the fun, additional online activities, including video read-alongs, audio sing-alongs, and more, are provided for each title on the Hal Leonard Explore Music website.

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