Ken Wilson-Max and Catell Ronca
One of the highlights of the school year in three of the primary schools I taught in before moving out of London was the annual visit of multicultural music workshop providers, Earthsong.
Storm and fellow musicians would come with their van filled with exciting musical instruments from different parts of the world – in particular, an amazing collection of drums – and give first a whole school presentation and then individual class workshops of music and dance for the children, often based on a theme that we had flagged up beforehand.
Once those drums came out and the children got their hands on them, even the most challenging of individuals became totally engaged and remained so throughout the session.
It was evident that drum circles (such as those Earthsong provided) were an opportunity for the children to feel totally connected with themselves and with one another and equally, that playing a drum was a terrific mood booster for every individual, many of whom came from less than ideal home situations.
Author Ken Wilson-Max and illustrator Catell Ronca capture those feel good experiences in their splendid little book for young children that features African drummers captivating both the players themselves and their audience
who cannot resist the invitation to follow Ken’s instructions to ‘Clap your hands … Stomp your feet … Move your shoulders from side to side
… Feel the beat in your belly … Feel the drum in your heart’
and who can ignore the appeal to ‘Shake your body and dance’. I can almost feel the beat and rhythm of the drums in Catell Ronca’s vibrant illustrations and want to start moving in concert with the children portrayed therein.
I can’t wait to see further titles in this new Tiny Owl series ‘Children, Music, Life’.