Martin Blaszk, Poland
This is an illustrated practical book to be used with children aged 2-7, accompanied by 2 CDs of music. In the rationale it is described as a user-friendly, comprehensive music and movement program which covers all aspects of learning - cognitive, linguistic, social/emotional, physical, and aesthetic. So it's not primarily (and doesn't claim to be) an English language teaching resource, although it does provide some useful and fun activities that might be used in the young learner language classroom. As the author writes, teachers can incorporate it into their lessons as it does have links to other areas in the curriculum. Equally, it is aimed at parents wishing to extend and enhance their child's development while also extending the parents' repertoire of games, rhymes, fingerplays and other activities. In terms of content, the book contains brief but useful advice about using music and physical activities, followed by four topic areas chosen to appeal to children: All About Me, Dinosaurs, The Sea and Fairies and Other Fantasy Folk. Each of these in turn is divided into sections giving: lesson plans for introductory and complete lessons; fingerplays; activities related to music, song and rhythm; dance and drama, and stretch and relax. In addition to this, there are warm-up activities and concentration upon particular developmental skills. After each activity there are also outcomes given, which means the programme one chooses to follow, be it suggested by Rattigan or a personal combination, can very easily be linked to the young learner curriculum.

In terms of music and songs, the book contains old favourites which I expect most people will be familiar with, Round and Rround the Garden Like a Teddy Bear ; Row, Row, Row your Boat and Yellow Submarine, as well as newer material by the author herself, I Hide My Hands and Waves . The CDs which accompany the book are really fun and well produced, with music ranging from rap, Our School Rap, to popular classical, Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. My personal favourites because of the voice quality and instrumentation are Do Your Ears Hang Low? and Running on the Spot. I also have a soft spot for the more classical Sailor's Hornpipe, a great little energizer! And this is the great strength of this book, the music and the activities themselves.

There are unfortunately some niggles. Not all the lyrics to the songs are given, and even though a number of them may be available from other sources (the internet for example) it would be useful to have them as 'part of the package'. This I feel would be helpful both for busy teachers and parents alike, especially if the book is aiming for an EFL market. Along with this, although the book is claimed to be for both teachers and parents it appears to be geared more to the professional side, the cover is bright and colourful but inside this is not matched. The drawings however are a fun and helpful visualization of the written instructions. And finally, the pages of the book are glued. Not a problem if this was a once-in-a-while-dip-into book, but it isn't, it's practical, so if you're working with young kids who will also be interested in looking at what you're looking at, or simply through extended use, I've a feeling the pages are going to fall out quite quickly.

Generally, even though it's not a dedicated EFL book, there are some fun and interesting ideas to explore with young children, along with music that is well produced, and which in some cases could stand up on its own account.
Guest | 13/12/1901 00:00
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