Cover image for The story of the incredible orchestra
The story of the incredible orchestra
Koscielniak, Bruce.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Co., 2000.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 25 x 29 cm
Describes the orchestra, the families of instruments of which it is made, and the individual instruments in each family.
Reading Level:
IG 1250 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 7.9 0.5 39573.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 6.9 3 Quiz: 29598 Guided reading level: W.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library ML1200 .K67 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Childrens Area
Clarence Library ML1200 .K67 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Clearfield Library ML1200 .K67 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Collins Library ML1200 .K67 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Hamburg Library ML1200 .K67 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Kenilworth Library ML1200 .K67 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Anna M. Reinstein Library ML1200 .K67 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
Niagara Branch Library ML1200 .K67 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Have you ever seen an orchestra perform? What are all those different instruments and how do they all play just the right note at just the right time? In this fact-filled and entertaining picture book, Bruce Koscielniak gives us a lively look at the history of the orchestra and all the instruments that make up this wonderful gathering of sound. From the "tooter, strings and beaters" of the 1600s to the keyboard synthesizers of today, this playful exploration follows the developments and trends of music and instruments over the past four hundred years.

Author Notes

Bruce Koscielniak is the author and illustrator of several books for children; he is also a musician who has played the violin and jazz guitar for many years. He lives in the Berkshires region of Massachusetts.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5^-9. The story starts on splendid front endpapers featuring pen-and-watercolor sketches of early instruments: lutes and viols, tabors and crumhorns. The back papers illustrate modern orchestral instruments: harps and violins, clarinets, and flutes. Before 1600, musical groups were small, but in 1597 the Italian composer Gabrieli wrote separate parts for specific groups of instruments in his Sacrae Symphoniae, marking the beginning of the orchestra. Koscielniak describes different musical styles and families of instruments, and introduces composers such as Haydn, Stravinksy, and Ellington to trace the growing power, intensity, and form of orchestral music. The illustrations are dense with gentle color and filled with scenes of musicians at play and pictures of instruments, with banner labels adding more information. The labels in particular use a light touch: the trombone, we learn, is Italian for "large trumpet," and Louis XIV had an ensemble called "The King's Twelve Excellent Oboists." A lot of information about who invented what and how it's played is packed into these engaging pages, making this a shining tool for adults to share with children who enjoy music and want to know more. --GraceAnne A. DeCandido

Publisher's Weekly Review

HInformed and lively, Koscielniak's (Hear, Hear, Mr. Shakespeare) fact-filled excursion through music history is just the ticket for budding musicians and music-lovers at large. Deceptively breezy prose and pictures trace the various eras in the development of the modern orchestra, starting with the instrumental groups at the dawn of the 17th century ("Tooters, Strings, and Beaters") and continuing on up to the present day, with a look at synthesizers and computer sound modules. At the same time, Koscielniak explains the evolution of musical styles (Baroque, Romantic, Classical, etc.). He also clues in readers as to how various instruments have changed over the centuries, examining such intriguing instruments as the sackbut (early trombone) and shawm (a forerunner of the oboe), as well as more familiar ones ("Kettledrums: Putting the Bomp Bomp Bah Bomp in the Orchestra"). Such important historical figures as Bach, Haydn, Duke Ellington and violin craftsman Antonio Stradivari are also introduced. Koscielniak expertly integrates text and art to convey all this information; the pages are busy but not cluttered, piquing interest with carefully selected detail. Close-up sketches show, for instance, a bassoon's double reed or how a piston valve works on a brass instrument. Watercolor wash in muted earth-toned shades bolsters the assured ink drawings, which seem both precise and spontaneous. Endpapers display a rogue's gallery of instruments, grouped by type and period. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-5-In a similar but much more focused format than his Hear, Hear, Mr. Shakespeare (Houghton, 1998), Koscielniak describes the evolution of the modern symphony orchestra and the instruments that comprise it. An informative narrative occupies at least one side of each double-page spread. Watercolor and line fill the pages, providing an up-close look at a variety of musical instruments and methods of sound production. Text inserts and captions accompany the artwork, describing the development of the instruments and their parts, or providing other related anecdotal information. The upbeat, whimsical drawings contrast with the rather formal narrative, which sometimes makes odd assumptions about readers' level of knowledge. Tempo is defined, for example, but not ensembles. The author covers a lot of ground here, perhaps too much, but most youngsters will learn something new. A fine complement to music-education programs.-Corinne Camarata, Port Washington Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Google Preview