Angelina’s Concertina Book Review

Angelina’s Concertina Book Review

Picture a rainy Wisconsin Saturday on a northern Wisconsin dairy farm. A six-year-old girl is not feeling well and is resting on the couch while her five-year-old brother sits next to her and watches cartoons. Mom is busy with their week at half-brother while Dad is in the barn tending to the cows. The oldest of the boys (five years old) reminds mom that he needs to read for ten minutes every day to color in his reading chart. A smile creeps across the mother’s face and she happily turns off the TV and opens her Kindle. She had almost forgotten the new book she had intended to read with the children weeks ago. With the baby in one hand and the Kindle in the other, mom calls the kids to sit around her legs as she rocks in the rocking chair.

Mom announced the title: “Angelina’s Concertina” and the kids looked askance at her, not knowing what a concertina was. Instead of explaining too much too soon, Mom assured the children that they would understand if they listened carefully and promised to show them each of the brightly colored pictures as the story was told.

Before long, one of the children asked, “Mom, is the concertina like an accordion?” and the other commented “Grandma has an accordion, right?”. The kids listened intently as the story progressed and even joined in the chorus/song about Angelina playing her concertina ooh la la! It is decided that the grandmother’s dress is nice and the children are bullies. When the story ended, the conversation became even more excited (at least from Mom’s point of view) as the children shared 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 that Angelina’s concertina would be shared again and again. What a lovely tale with exquisite illustrations and great lessons. Hats off to Gina Chalkoshewski-Kabat for sharing this story and Courtney Mathis for her illustrations. This is a great book for kids of all ages!

It’s always a pleasure to find a book that kids enjoy as much as the old standbys like The Cat in the Hat or The Secret Garden. I appreciate the thought that went into Angelina’s concertina and the message that the children clearly understood.

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