I didn't know much about orchestras before I read this book. I absolutely love books that share things on a level you can understand. (This book is intended for elementary / junior high level readers.) Although orchestras might seem commonplace to many people, if you aren't familiar with them, it's kind of like speaking a foreign language.
The book contains descriptions of various instrument in an orchestra:
- violin, - viola, - cello, - double bass, - harp, - flute, - piccolo, - oboe, - English horn, - bassoon, - clarinet, - bass clarinet, - saxophone, - trumpet, - trombone, - French horn, - bass tuba, - kettle drum, - snare drum, - bass drum, - triangle, - castanets, - tambourine, - xylophone, - cymbals, - chimes, - celesta, and - glockenspiel. There are a couple of paragraphs about what the conductor does and an index so you can easily find instruments.
The descriptions are thorough, giving information such as a brief history of the instrument, what each instrument does, pros and cons of that particular instrument, etc. The old-fashioned pencil drawings are also quite appealing.
Even though it is a short (39 pages) children's book, it is a thorough description of the instruments that bring an orchestra together. I would highly recommend "What Makes an Orchestra" for educational libraries, music teachers, homeschoolers, or just for enjoyment.
Sonya Haskins, author of Homeschooling for the Rest of Us: How Your One-of-a-Kind Family Can Make Homeschooling and Real Life Work (Bethany House, 2010)