Book Review: The Walkabout Orchestra: Postcards from Around the World by Chloe Perarnau

This is a ‘Where’s-Wally-like’ experience exploring musical instruments and cultures from across the world.

As you turn the pages, you are led on a tour of different locations around the world as the Maestro and his assistant try to find their missing orchestra before their imminent concert.

Each detailed double page spread presents a busy and colourful landscape in which different instrumental players are hidden among crowds of local people. A short postcard addressed to the orchestra maestro from specific instrumentalists introduces the reader to the object(s) of their search.

As your eyes roam the page seeking the missing instrumentalists, your attention is caught by all the people, activities, and items on the page, which give a powerful sense of the each different place that is introduced. You can’t help but get drawn in to a delicious exploration of everyone and everything on the page.

An ‘index’ of instrumentalists at the front of the book helps readers identify (and learn) the different instruments of the orchestra. As well as the maestro and his assistant, a little birdie also appears in each location, presenting the reader with another hide and seek challenge, highlighting specific cultural artefacts for you to find.

This would be a wonderful book to have in a classroom reading corner, to be poured over and explored in detail a page at a time. It would also make a great model text. Children could choose locations from around the world, create their own ‘cultural crowd’ illustrations and write postcards from those locations, either as musical instruments or as a other ‘dispersed’ group, such as a football team before a big game or teachers before the start of term.

 

The Walkabout Orchestra: Postcards from around the world by Chloe Perarnau was published on 21st February 2018 by Wide Eyed Editions

Helen Mulligan is a Deputy Head and English Lead in a 2 form entry primary school in Cambridgeshire. She is passionate about reading and developing reading as a pleasure to be enjoyed as individuals and as communities.