Drawing inspiration from Davy Crockett, the coonskin-cap wearing hero of history and fable, and by the similar sounds of “Crockett” and “crotchet” (the British term for a quarter note in musical notation), Tami and Tanja Kerr present a fun and informative picture book about the origins of common musical instruments in their book The Adventures of Davy Crotchet.
In the story, Davy’s name is bestowed on him by Mel Odi, a composer of music who can’t find the right instruments to transform the music he imagines in his head to something that can be heard by all. Looking for a way to help Mel, Davy goes exploring across Europe and discovers the oboe, French horn, clarinet, and other anthropomorphized instruments, who join him in his travels.
Along the way, historical information is provided about the creators of these instruments and the modifications they made to earlier inventions. After a final stop in Italy to meet Antonio Stradivari, the famous violin maker, the group returns to England and rewards Mel Odi with a surprise performance of his own composition. The book ends with a hint that Davy might be sent in search of other instruments in the future.
The Adventures of Davy Crotchet is told in a comic-book, sequential art style that is perfect for the story: The illustrations are cartoony enough to be fun, but show enough realistic detail to be accurate when comparing one instrument with another. Even children with little musical knowledge or interest will enjoy Davy’s adventures, but the book really hits the mark in its educational component, which offers a simple but thorough history of common orchestral instruments. Not many children’s books aspire to such dual goals, let alone succeed at it as well as this one does.
Expertly combining education and entertainment, with neither outdoing the other, The Adventures of Davy Crotchet is highly recommended.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.
BlueInk Heads Up: Libraries, music schools and retail stores should consider stocking this delightful educational title.