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Musical Instruments: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about musical instruments?

Music is many things to many different people: singing in the shower, humming as you work, classical music played by an orchestra, “cymbals that splash and ba-da-ba bass and rat-a-tat-tat drums on a rumbling stage” (Music Is…), etc. The musical instruments that create it are as varied as the music itself. Whether your child already loves music or you’re trying to help grow their love, these books are sure to help. From true stories about creating instruments from trash to board books that talk about the sounds each instrument makes, there’s something for everyone!

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The Trumpet of the Swan
Written by E.B. White
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
This story is a delightful read with a swan who believes he can do anything, and he does. I loved following along in his adventures and seeing how he dedicates himself. His friend, Sam, was also one of my favorite parts of the book. Louis never quits--which is what allows him to find his best friend, Sam, his true love, Serena, and his many talents, including his trumpeting. Louis learns to make his weakness (being mute) a strength (learning how to play the trumpet) and never thinks he can't do anything just because he's a swan--he even learns to read and write!
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Swan Song Like the rest of his family, Louis is a trumpeter swan. But unlike his four brothers and sisters, Louis can’t trumpet joyfully. In fact, he can’t even make a sound. And since he can’t trumpet his love, the beautiful swan Serena pays absolutely no attention to him. Louis tries everything he can think of to win Serena’s affection–he even goes to school to learn to read and write. But nothing seems to work. Then his father steals him a real brass trumpet. Is a musical instrument the key to winning Louis his love?

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Pokko and the Drum
Written & illustrated by Matthew Forsythe
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From E.B. White Read Aloud honor artist Matthew Forsythe comes a picture book about a magical drum, an emerald forest, and the little frog who dares to make her own music.

The biggest mistake Pokko’s parents ever made was giving her the drum. When Pokko takes the drum deep into the forest it is so quiet, so very quiet that Pokko decides to play. And before she knows it she is joined by a band of animals —first the raccoon, then the rabbit, then the wolf—and soon the entire forest is following her. Will Pokko hear her father’s voice when he calls her home?

Pokko and the Drum is a story about art, persistence, and a family of frogs living in a mushroom.

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Ada's Violin
Written by Susan Hood & illustrated by Sally Wern Comport
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom
This is a beautifully told true story about a creative music teacher, a little girl with a dream, and the potential that exists beneath the surface in the most unlikely places... even a heap of trash. While it's perhaps a little long and a little deep for a very young audience, it is very accessible for children with an ~10 minute attention span and is told in a way that gives them a glimpse into the poverty Ada and her town were experiencing at a very appropriate level.
Thoughts from The Fun Uncle
I love this book! It has something for everyone- invention, music, and more. It is a deep book that talks about poverty and the struggles of growing up in a lower-income area. However, Ada is an amazing example of someone who doesn't let life happen to her, but does what she needs to create the life she wants. I would read this story even without my little one, as it is just a story that reaches the heart and helps us all take a deeper look into our lives.
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A town built on a landfill. A community in need of hope. A girl with a dream. A man with a vision. An ingenious idea.

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Hosea Plays On
Written by Kathleen M. Blasi & illustrated by Shane W. Evans
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-9

This heartwarming picture book (based on a true story) depicts a day in the life of Hosea Taylor, a musician who—with his charm, talent, and generosity—brought joy to everyone he met.

Every day, Hosea takes the Number 42 bus into the city to play his shiny brass saxophone—and to hopefully earn enough money. Setting up in his favorite place, Hosea makes sweet music as people greet him with a smile, a little girl dances, and crowds surround him. A surprise ending reveals what the money is really for. Kathleen Blasi’s delightful text and Shane Evan’s colorful images capture the real-life closeness between the much-loved Hosea—who shared his passion for music and life with everyone—and his community.

An Author’s Note explains how Blasi learned about Hosea Taylor (1948-2016), and what compelled her to write his story.

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Music Is . . .
Written by Brandon Stosuy & illustrated by Amy Martin
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm
So fun that this book introduces music vocabulary and even has a list of music terms defined at the end of the book. This book shows the diversity in music, but also a lot of diversity in the people illustrated! The illustrations are really fun and I love the bold pops of color!
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

From music writer and The Creative Independent/Kickstarter Editor in Chief Brandon Stosuy, comes an entertaining new board book that introduces the many moods, styles, and senses of music to the youngest audiophiles—because music is for everyone, and music is for you. Featuring Amy Martin’s dynamic art style, Music Is… explains music through our eyes and ears so that the sense of hearing is transformed into a visual experience. A pitch-perfect board book that is sure to strike a chord with readers of all ages.

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  • Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin - B is for Bookworm -

    This book does a wonderful job introducing little ones to musical vocabulary, and there's also great rhyming and alliteration. This book counts to ten in numbers and in the names for different sizes of musical groups, such as a quartet. The colorful illustrations and text display many different instruments, and little one's will learn to say "encore!" when they want more. :)

  • The Treasure of the Sea - Fairies, folklore, and magical creatures await Thea Stilton and the Thea Sisters in every Special Edition adventure!Thea Stilton and the Thea Sisters are needed to help Aquamarina, the magical land of the ocean! The enchanted Music of the Sea has stopped playing, and no one knows why. If it doesn’t return soon, the realm will perish!The mouselets and their friend Will Mystery travel to the underwater world to find the magical music. On their mission, they swim through dangerous waters, encounter strange and fantastical creatures, and even reveal an ancient mystery. It’s a mousetastic aquatic adventure!

  • Toot! Toot!: Guess the Instrument - “What’s that noise? Lift the flap to find out! Perfect for guessing, prediction and memory skills–and simply joining in!”–Page 4 of cover.

  • Listen to My Trumpet! - When Piggie plays her new trumpet for Gerald, the elephant decides he must be honest in his response.

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The Story of the Orchestra: Listen While You Learn about the Instruments, the Music and the Composers Who Wrote the Music!
Written by Robert Levine & illustrated by Meredith Hamilton
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Eye-catching illustrations and an accompanying 70-minute CD make this an exciting and educational introduction to the world of classical music-from composers and music history to the instruments of the orchestra-for elementary age children (and parents, too!).Illustrated in exquisite and colorful detail with over 100 original drawings and photographs, the engaging text is broken into three sections: An introduction to each instrument of the orchestra from the cello to the timpani The stories of famous composers from Bach to Stravinsky. An explanation of different musical styles from Baroque to Modern.Each step of the way, children can listen to actual musical examples of what they are learning about. Young readers will hear the sound of an actual violin as they study the instrument and enjoy the playful tune of a Mozart minuet as they read about the composer’s precocious exploits as a child. Join Orchestra Bob on this fun and exciting musical journey. Perfect for young students just starting to play an orchestral instrument as well as for parents and teachers looking for a simple introduction to the principles and history of classical music.

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Can You Hear It?
Written & illustrated by William Lach
picture book
Recommend Ages: 1-10

Presents an introduction to music and musical instruments, through the matching of excerpts of classical music with art works selected from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Mr. Putter & Tabby Toot the Horn
Written by Cynthia Rylant & illustrated by Arthur Howard
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Mr. Putter’s neighbor, Mrs. Teaberry, decides that they should join a band, but finding the right one isn’t as easy as it sounds–for them or their pets.

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Mole Music
Written & illustrated by David McPhail
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Feeling that something is missing in his simple life, Mole acquires a violin and learns to make beautiful, joyful music.

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Lost and Found, What's that Sound?
Written by Jonathan Ying & illustrated by Victoria Ying
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

“An excellent choice for any library.” —School Library Journal

It’s a busy day at Rabbit’s Lost and Found. Poor Squirrel has lost his drum, Elephant has lost her piano, and Bat has lost his entire band! Will Rabbit find their lost instruments before show time?

With lively rhyming text and colorful illustrations, this sturdy board book from brother-and-sister team Jonathan and Victoria Ying (Not Quite Black and White) is perfect for little hands.

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  • I Love Music - Readers of every age will be enchanted by this charming board book, which is distinguished by the exceptional quality of the musical sounds that bring every picture to life. I Love Music has a button on every spread, which triggers one of six captivating sounds that introduces a familiar instrument to the reader. An incredibly simple but utterly fascinating interactive book with sounds bound to enchant young readers and ignite an early love of music! A delightful and compelling book in the My First Sound Book series that everyone in the family will enjoy reading again and again.

  • Music for Mister Moon - After shy cello player Harriet Henry accidentally knocks the moon out of the sky, the moon becomes her friend, and Harriet gains the courage to share her music.

  • Maya the Harp Fairy - The Music Fairies’ magic instruments are missing. Now music everywhere is hitting all the wrong notes! This is our eighth group of fairies; all seven books in this group will launch at once. Jack Frost and his goblins have stolen the Music Fairies’ magic instruments. Music everywhere is out of tune! Now the goblins plan to play the instruments in a TV talent contest. If Rachel and Kirsty don’t act fast, everyone could find out about Fairyland! There’s a wedding in Wetherbury, but the day could be ruined if Rachel and Kirsty can’t find Maya’s magic harp. They’ll have to pull some strings to get it back! Find the magic instrument in each book and help keep Fairyland in perfect harmony!

  • Victoria the Violin Fairy - Jack Frost and his goblins have stolen the Music Fairies’ magic instruments. Music everywhere is out of tune! Now the goblins plan to play the instruments in a TV talent contest. If Rachel and Kirsty don’t act fast, everyone could find out about Fairyland! The girls are determined to track down Victoria the Violin Fairy’s instrument — even if they have to crash the goblins’ band practice. But will the goblins fiddle their way out? Find the magic instrument in each book and help keep Fairyland in perfect harmony!

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Poppy the Piano Fairy
Written by Daisy Meadows
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-9
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Play This Book
Written by Jessica Young & illustrated by Daniel Wiseman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

For fans of Press Here, this new interactive picture book line invites readers to touch and move and play with the book. To start our show we need a band–maybe you can lend a hand! There are lots of ways little hands can make music. Each page of this interactive book invites readers to strum the guitar, slide the trombone, crash the cymbals, and more–no instruments required! With a delightful rhyming text and engaging illustrations, this book is full of instruments waiting to share their sounds. The only thing this band needs is YOU! Just use your imagination, turn the pages, and Play This Book! Pair with Pet This Book, another title in this young picture book line that comes printed on heavy-duty card stock pages to stand up to all kinds of play!

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Fiona the Flute Fairy
Written by Daisy Meadows
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

The Music Fairies’ magic instruments are missing. Now music everywhere is hitting all the wrong notes! This is our eighth group of fairies; all seven books in this group will launch at once. Jack Frost and his goblins have stolen the Music Fairies’ magic instruments. Music everywhere is out of tune! Now the goblins plan to play the instruments in a TV talent contest. If Rachel and Kirsty don’t act fast, everyone could find out about Fairyland! When the goblins play Fiona’s magic flute, everyone in Wetherbury falls under its spell. But putting magic in the goblins’ hands can only mean one thing — trouble! Find the magic instrument in each book and help keep Fairyland in perfect harmony!

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Sadie the Saxophone Fairy
Written by Daisy Meadows
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

The Music Fairies’ magic instruments are missing. Now music everywhere is hitting all the wrong notes! This is our eighth group of fairies; all seven books in this group will launch at once. Jack Frost and his goblins have stolen the Music Fairies’ magic instruments. Music everywhere is out of tune! Now the goblins plan to play the instruments in a TV talent contest. If Rachel and Kirsty don’t act fast, everyone could find out about Fairyland! Jack Frost and his goblin band plan to jazz up the talent contest with Sadie’s magic saxophone. It’s up to Rachel and Kirsty to stop them — and save their fairy friends! Find the magic instrument in each book and help keep Fairyland in perfect harmony!

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Danni the Drum Fairy
Written by Daisy Meadows
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Jack Frost and his goblins have stolen the Music Fairies’ magic instruments. Music everywhere is out of tune! Now the goblins plan to play the instruments in a TV talent contest. If Rachel and Kirsty don’t act fast, everyone could find out about Fairyland! Rachel and Kirsty are going to be in a music video! Danni the Drum Fairy’s instrument is on set, being played by a mischievous goblin. Can the girls snare him? Find the magic instrument in each book and help keep Fairyland in perfect harmony!

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  • Ellie the Guitar Fairy - Jack Frost and his goblins have stolen the Music Fairies’ magic instruments. Music everywhere is out of tune! Now the goblins plan to play the instruments in a TV talent contest. If Rachel and Kirsty don’t act fast, everyone could find out about Fairyland! A rockin’ goblin has Ellie the Guitar Fairy’s instrument, and he won’t give it up without a fight! Can Rachel, Kirsty, and Ellie outsmart this guitar star? Find the magic instrument in each book and help keep Fairyland in perfect harmony!

  • A Crooked Kind of Perfect - Ten-year-old Zoe Elias, who longs to play the piano but must resign herself to learning the organ, instead, finds that her musicianship has a positive impact on her workaholic mother, her jittery father, and her school social life.

  • Little Pig Joins the Band - Little Pig has trouble keeping up with his older—and bigger—brothers and sisters. When they get out Grandpa’s old marching-band instruments, Little Pig is too little to play any of them. But when the disorganized band has a pig-pile mishap, Little Pig has a BIG idea: They could use a leader.

  • The Leprechaun's Gold - In this classic Irish legend, two harpists – merry-hearted Old Pat and ill-spirited Young Tom – set off for a contest to name the finest harpist in all of Ireland. When Young Tom realizes that Old Pat is truly the better musician, he schemes to be the winner – but he doesn′t reckon with the clever trickery of a mischievous little leprechaun. Noted picture book creators Pamela Duncan Edwards and Henry Cole have imagined a joyful and fanciful tale with a priceless lesson.

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Guitar Genius
Written by Kim Tomsic & illustrated by Brett Helquist
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

This is the story of how Les Paul created the world’s first solid- body electric guitar, countless other inventions that changed modern music, and one truly epic career in rock and roll. How to make a microphone? A broomstick, a cinderblock, a telephone, a radio. How to make an electric guitar? A record player’s arm, a speaker, some tape. How to make a legendary inventor? A few tools, a lot of curiosity, and an endless faith in what is possible. Featuring richly detailed, dynamic illustrations by Brett Helquist, this unforgettable biography will resonate with inventive readers young and old.

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Little Melba and Her Big Trombone
Written by Katheryn Russell-Brown & illustrated by Frank Morrison
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

“A biography of African American musician Melba Doretta Liston, a virtuoso musician who played the trombone and composed and arranged music for many of the great jazz musicians of the twentieth century. Includes afterword, discography, and sources”–

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Manuelo, the Playing Mantis
Written & illustrated by Don Freeman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

One warm summer evening, a lonely praying mantis named Manuelo listens to the music of an outdoor concert. Manuelo wishes that he, too, could make music like the crickets and the katydids. But the instruments he makes don’t play. Then Manuelo meets someone who shows him how to fashion a cello using a walnut shell, a stick, and a special ingredient. Manuelo makes his first true friend and, together, they create the music they both love.

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Music Class Today!
Written by & illustrated by Vin Vogel
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Hooray!Music class is underway! As soon as the teacher starts to play his guitar and sing, the kids are whirling and twirling and having a blast. But for one hesitant little music maker, it is all a bit overwhelming at first. With energetic and bright illustrations, this reassuring story about the courage it sometimes takes to try something new will resonate with children everywhere. From David Weinstone, the creator of the wildly popular Music for Aardvarks program, and the pitch-perfect Vin Vogel comes this infectious celebration of music class that will make you want to sing and dance with your own little ones!

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Double Bass Blues
Written by Andrea J Loney & illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A joyous celebration of family, community, and the unifying power of music, perfect for fans of Last Stop on Market Street.

Nic is an aspiring musician whose life spans two different worlds–his suburban school where he wows his friends in orchestra, and the busy city streets of his home where he’s jostled by the crowd. Nic makes his way home from a busy day at school with a double bass on his back, the symphony of his surroundings in his heart, and a sweet surprise for the reader at the end of his journey. This is a sweet, melodious picture book about how dedication, music, and family can overcome any obstacle.

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  • Sing, Don't Cry - Once a year, Abuelo comes from Mexico to visit his family. He brings his guitar, his music—and his memories. In this story inspired by the life of Apolinar Navarrete Diaz—author Angela Dominguez’s grandfather and a successful mariachi musician—Abuelo and his grandchildren sing through the bad times and the good. Lifting their voices and their spirits, they realize that true happiness comes from singing together.

  • Musical Mac - Mac the millipede loves to make music. He dreams of playing in a talent show with a band, but wherever he auditions, everyone says NO. No one wants him . . . until Mac comes up with an ingenious one-millipede solution to his problem! Brendan Kearney’s funny picture book will inspire kids who like to march to the beat of their own drum.

  • The Piano - What do you do when a piano shows up in your yard? Take a cat-nap? Use it as a coffee table? What’s a band to do when one of its instruments goes missing? And what does a yellow sock have to do with anything? Join Filippa and friends in a whacky adventure when they wake up to find a piano in the front yard. Kids will love the bright and whimsical artwork in this book as they find out how the piano is returned to the band, new friends are found, and music is made.

  • Drum City - A young boy begins banging on pots and pans in his front yard, enticing other children to join him, and before long the entire city is feeling the beat.

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The Oboe Goes Boom Boom Boom
Written by Colleen AF Venable & illustrated by Lian Cho
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
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This Jazz Man
Written by Karen Ehrhardt & illustrated by R. G. Roth
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

In this toe-tapping jazz tribute, the traditional “This Old Man” gets a swinging makeover, and some of the era’s best musicians take center stage. The tuneful text and vibrant illustrations bop, slide, and shimmy across the page as Satchmo plays one, Bojangles plays two . . . right on down the line to Charles Mingus, who plays nine, plucking strings that sound “divine.”

Easy on the ear and the eye, this playful introduction to nine jazz giants will teach children to count—and will give them every reason to get up and dance!

Includes a brief biography of each musician.

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Groovy Joe: Dance Party Countdown
Written by Eric Litwin & illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Groovy Joe is totally fun.
He’s a tail-wagging, song singing party of one!
And he rocks like this:
Disco party bow wow!

#1 New York Times bestsellers Eric Litwin (Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes) and Tom Lichtenheld (Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site) are back in another groovy story that will have little ones singing, dancing, and learning math to a whole new beat. In his second book, Groovy Joe has a dance party. But Oh no! More and more doggies are knocking on his door, asking to come in. Will there be enough room for everyone? Joe knows just what to do and, soon enough, he everyone moving and grooving – the party has only just begun! Signature rhyme, repetition, and musical writing style, combined with wild and witty illustrations infused and gentle math concepts come together to create an unforgettable new Groovy Joe story all about positivity, creativity, math, and kindness. Groovy Joe is back, ready to get groovy!

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Ben's Trumpet
Written & illustrated by Rachel Isadora
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The story of Ben is fiction, but it could be the story of more than one jazz musician who grew up in the twenties. Using the art-deco style of the period, Rachel Isadora not only captures the poignancy and yearning of a youthful talent, but in page after page of striking art seems to convey the very sound of music.

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Bats in the Band
Written & illustrated by Brian Lies
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

When the weather warms up, bats take advantage of an empty theater to stage a concert.

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  • Music Is for Everyone - The Book Snob Mom -

    This is a fun introduction to lots of different kinds of music and does a nice job of showcasing a variety. The illustrations are really fun, beautiful and detailed and give plenty to look at while you read through the rhyming text.

  • Lloyd Finds His Whalesong - Lloyd can’t sing. The rhythm of the whalesong guides the whales through danger and connects them to each other. But Lloyd is too quiet to join in. If he can’t sing, how can he be a part of the pod? Then one day he finds a magical, mysterious object with supersonic seaweed strings! This could be his chance to be part of the song. He practices and practices, nervously preparing to show the other whales. But before he can perform for them, a disruptive, noisy boat approaches and scatters the pod. Lloyd’s powerful new instrument may be the only thing that can reunite them―if he can find the courage to share his unique song. This inspiring and whimsical tale about celebrating your differences and finding your voice is complemented by bright and endearing illustrations that sparkle with quiet magic.

  • Have You Seen My Trumpet? - Following “Take Away the A” and “Where’s the Baboon?,” this is Escoffier/Di Giacomo’s last book in their zany word-play trilogy.

  • Play, Mozart, Play! - Introduces very young children to the child prodigy, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, in a tribute to the beauty of listening, looking, imagining, and, above all, playing.

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Hey, Diddle Diddle
Written by Amy Pixton & illustrated by Jonas Sickler
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-2

Here is a book babies can really sink their gums into. Built for the way babies read, Indestructibles are printed on an amazing paperlike material that can’t be ripped, torn, or punctured. Indestructibles are 100 percent safe and nontoxic, and if they get too funky, just throw them in the washing machine or dishwasher. They’re made for baby to hold, grab, chew, pull, and bend, and are designed to create an even more special bond between reader and baby. Printed without words, the parent gets to make up the story, or just cuddle with baby while they explore together.

Hey Diddle Diddle introduces the work of Jonas Sickler, a children’s illustrator whose paintings, full of detail and personality, have a fresh, whimsical sensibility, a pleasure for both baby and parents. The book gives a new spin on a traditional nursery rhyme, so parents can really have fun with the subject—Hey Diddle Diddle follows the coolest cat in New Orleans, a fiddle player who joins his other music-loving friends. The text for the nursery rhyme is printed on the back cover.

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Amazing Me! Music!
Written & illustrated by Carol Thompson
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

We’re amazing! We can make music, dress up, sing and dance.

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Sounds
Written & illustrated by Katie Wilson
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-3

Touch, listen, and learn.

The latest addition to the Montessori –inspired Discovery Concepts series, joins the band to learn the sounds a variety of instruments make. From the “OOMPAH” of a tuba to the “CLANG! CLANG! CLANG!” of cymbals, little ones will love reciting each sound. Tactile sandpaper musical notes illustrate each instrument’s output while creative words encourage kids to make the sounds for themselves.

Innovative back matter includes a QR code on the final spread of the book, which when scanned on a smartphone, features a marching band playing all of the instruments featured in the book.

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Forever Young
Written by Bob Dylan & illustrated by Paul Rogers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Since it first appeared on the 1974 album Planet Waves, “Forever Young” has been one of Bob Dylan’s most beloved songs. Now award-winning artist Paul Rogers gives us a new interpretation of the lyrics. With images inspired by classic Dylan songs and pieces of his life, this is a bold and touching tribute to an anthem whose message will always stay forever young.

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