Picture a rainy Wisconsin Saturday on a dairy farm in Northern Wisconsin. A six year old girl isn’t feeling well and is relaxing in the couch while her five year old brother sits close by watching cartoons. Mom is busy with their week in a half old brother while Dad is out in the barn caring for the cows. The oldest of the boys (the five year old) reminds Mom he needs to read ten minutes each day to color in his reading chart. A smile creeps across moms face and she gladly turns off the television and opens her Kindle. She had nearly forgotten the new book she had intended on reading with the children weeks prior. With the infant in one arm and the Kindle in the other, Mom calls the children to sit around her feet as she rocks in the rocking chair.
Mom announced the title: Angelina’s Concertina and the children gave her a sideways glance not quite knowing what a concertina was. Instead of explaining too much too soon, Mom assured the children they would figure it out if they listened carefully and she promised to show them each of the bright colorful pictures as the story was told.
It didn’t take long and one of the children asked “is a concertina like an accordion Mom?” and the other commented “Grandma has an accordion doesn’t she?”. The children listened attentively as the story progressed and even chimed in on the chorus/song about Angelina playing her concertina ooh la la! It was decided that the grandmother’s dress was lovely and the children were bullies. As the story finished, the conversation was even more excited (at least from Mom’s point of view) as the children talked about what they had learned:
• It’s never too late to say you’re sorry
• You shouldn’t make fun of how other people do things
• Don’t be afraid to make music even if no one likes it
Mom closed the book with a smile knowing Angelina’s Concertina would be shared again and again. What a wonderful tale with exquisite illustrations and fabulous lessons. Hats off to Gina Cialkoszewski – Kabat for sharing this story and Courtney Matthies for her illustrations. This is a great book for children a variety of ages!
It is always a pleasure to find a book the children enjoy as much as the old standby’s like The Cat in the Hat or The Secret Garden. I appreciate the thought that went into Angelina’s Concertina as well as the message that the children clearly understood.