Review: 88 INSTRUMENTS by Chris Barton and illustrated by Louis Thomas

img_1924This book struck a chord with me. Obviously, that pun was intended. Chris Barton’s 88 INSTRUMENTS follows a young boy at a music store who is told by his parents he can pick only one instrument. In most situations when a child needs to pick something . . . anything, really . . . the choices can be overwhelming. I wanna try this one. That one’s cool. What about this? Can I have more than one? Can I have them all? More often than not, that is the experience for kids on up through adulthood. (Recently, I’ve wanted to have all the different flavors of ice cream. Yes, I have. Choices are hard people. Feel free to judge me.)

What I love about this beautifully illustrated book is, well, many things. I love that it’s about music and to see the love and curiosity of the main character as he plunks, thomps, toots his way through each instrument in the music store. The word-play is fun — honkiest, twangiest, bashiest — and delighted my kids’ ears. And, I appreciated the tie-in with the 88 instruments — it seems there are that many to try — and the 88 keys on the piano. Can the main character learn them all? Yes . . . slow and steady, one at a time.

My 8 y/o son plays the violin, and he didn’t go through this experience of choosing an instrument. He knew he wanted to play the violin, but playing it was a different story. He wanted to be a virtuoso straight away. Instead, just like everyone else, he needed to learn one string at a time, one bow at a time, take your time, which is the message I get and hope my kiddos get when reading 88 INSTRUMENTS.

This book is certainly read-againiest.

img_1890Now, if this book were a pie, which one would it be? I thought coming up with a pie for this book would be difficult. What pie tastes like an instrument? Kidding. Anyway, my 8 y/o came up with a flavor that made sense to me, and it is based on the brassy illustrations. He said, “Make a mango pie, Mom.” Why, yes, indeed. And I did. It’s delightful and different, if you like mango. (Full disclosure: I don’t like mango. Sorry, mango, it’s me, not you.) But if you like mango, this pie is right for you. A summery pie, so not the best to offer as we start the dive into the fall, but I live in Austin, so it truly feels like summer here until always.

Here’s the link to the recipe I used:  Mango Pudding Recipe. All you need to do is bake off a pre-made pie shell and let it cool. Then pour the pudding batter into the cooled shell and let the pudding set in the refrigerator for two hours. Bon Apetoot! (I had to sneak in one more instrument pun.)