Monday, December 28, 2009

Reviewing Maestro Classics, "The Tortoise and the Hare"

A little over a week ago I received a CD from Maestro Classics.  Truthfully I wasn't sure what to expect.  I LOVE classical music.  My husband says I just like any music that starts witha "C", Classical, Country, or Christian!  But I do really love classical music.  I've tried some of the more "child-like" classical CDs like Peter and the Wolf and The Carnival of the Animals to get our boys to love classical the way I do, but they don't.  They tolerate it when I force it on them.  So, I wasn't sure if the Maestro Classics CD The Tortoise and the Hare would be a hit around her.  Long story was!


I thought this would be a music CD that told the story throughout the music.  I was surprised when I put the CD in and saw six tracks of varying lengths.  I was even more surprised when we started the CD and someone was speaking.  This was not what I expected.  The music was part of the narrated story.  It enhanced the scene as it was being set, or explained the character that was also introduced in words.  It was part of the story, and seamlessly so.  And the story was definitely a living story.  It was well told and not dumbed down.  It was pleasing to hear.  Our 13 year-old and 11 year-old boys were riveted, but I'm sure that all ages from even pre-school on up to high school could find listening a joy.

A small companion book arrived with the CD.  I thought perhaps it was an illustrated book telling the story.  It was not a story book, but a book chock-full of supporting information to what we were hearing.  There were articles on the instruments and composer.  There were words to one of the songs so that we could all sing along.  And there was information about the animals involved in the story.  I handed the book to our youngest son as we began to listen to the CD.  After a few minutes he began telling us the difference between a rabbit and a hare.  That conversation continued at the supper table a few hours later.  So it really stuck with him!


This is much more than a way to fill your music slot for homeschooling.  As we listened, we learned about music, character, animals, even a little geography.  Oh!  And I could have made an entire day's unit study from this CD as well.  If you decide to purchase The Tortoise and the Hare from Maestro Classics, plan to make soft pretzels for science or home ec.; run a foot race for physical education; learn the differences between a tortoise and a turtle and a rabbit and a hare for more science; do the dot-to-dot in the companion book for math; do the word jumble and crossword puzzle in the companion book for language art as well as listening to the story and the commentary section about Aesop; read Aesop's original fable for more language arts; identify Paris, France, and the Champs Elysees for geography; and listen to the music on the CD and composer's commentary for music.  That's full day that sounds like lots of fun.


Maestro Classics has many other CDs to offer. Each CD comes with a companion booklet and sells for $16.98 plus shipping and handling.   I'm sure they are all as rich an experience as The Tortoise and the Hare.  You can see a complete list of their products here.  Their contact information can be found here.  I did not receive the original CD that was sent to the crew.  It must have gotten lost in the mail.  I contacted Maestro Classics and they sent another CD priority mail which I received in a few short days.  So, I can personally vouch for their customer service.


I hope you give Maestro Classics a try.  I was so glad to have experienced one of their products.  It was very well-done and a fun addition to our regular routine.  I hope to get a chance to purchase some of their other CDs one day.  As usual, don't take my word for it, but check out what my fellow crew-reviewers have to say here.


This product was issued to me free of charge in order that I may give you this non-biased, honest review.  I was not compensated in any way for this review.

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