Thursday, December 17, 2009

Review: Maestro Classics

I love reading aloud with my son, but there are times when it helps to have someone else to the reading for me--during car trips, when I'm making dinner, etc.   That's when we pop in a CD like  Maestro Classics' The Tortoise and the Hare.

The concept of music playing an integral part of the story telling is not new.  We're probably all familiar with The Sorcerer's Apprentice or Peter and the Wolf (both of which are available in this series).  But Maestro Classics have gone a step further and created original compositions to go with other familiar children's stories, in this case one of Aesop's Fables.    They've also greatly expanded the story --in addition to falling asleep, the hare has time to stop at a bistro for a bowl of French onion soup. 

I have to say that the music really adds to the story. In fact, it was the hare's theme music that first caught my Schnickelfritz's attention and got him to stop riding his plasmacar around the basement.  The music and the lively narration then kept him rapt  in amusement.    He also picked up on two morals in the story:  the time-honored "Slow and steady wins the race,"  and thanks to the story's expansion, "It's not good to brag."  This CD is best used for car trips or during active times of the day, not as bedtime fare.  The lively music and narration would probably prolong the time it takes to fall asleep.

After the story came a track with more information about Aesop's original version and a track about the musical instruments and themes.  There is also a stand alone performance of The Pretzel Vendor of Paris song that occurs within the story.   Once you've been informed and educated there is a second opportunity to listen to The Tortoise and the Hare.   I'll confess that Fritz went back to riding his plasmacar during the informative tracks.   Also be sure to check out the booklet in the jewel case.  There are puzzles, information about the orchestra, and an explanation about why this is the "Tortoise and the Hare" and not "Turtle and the Rabbit." 

The Tortoise and the Hare CD is available at Maestro Classics for $16.98 or you can purchase three of their titles for $45.00 with the coupon code MAESTRO45 .   You can read what my fellow Crewmates thought of The Tortoise and the Hare by clicking here .

I received a free CD of The Tortoise and the Hare for the purposes of completing this review.  I received no other compensation.


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