Once Upon a Tune: Stories from the Orchestra (Hardback)
  • Once Upon a Tune: Stories from the Orchestra (Hardback)

Once Upon a Tune: Stories from the Orchestra (Hardback)

Hardback 96 Pages
Published: 09/09/2021
  • 5+ in stock

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Waterstones Says

The author-illustrator of the classic Katie series of picture books delivers a gorgeous collection of six stories inspired by classical music, from The Sorcerer's Apprentice to In the Hall of the Mountain King.

Longlisted for The Yoto Carnegie Medal for Illustration 2023

Once Upon a Tune brings you six wonderful stories from many lands, all of which inspired great music. You can battle trolls with Peer Gynt if you go In The Hall of the Mountain King; grapple with a magic broom in The Sorcerer's Apprentice, meet the evil Witch of the North in The Swan of Tuonela, sail the seven seas with Sinbad the Sailor in Scheherazade; be a prince disguised as a bee in The Flight of the Bumblebee and become a fearless hero in William Tell.

The stories are excitingly told and stunningly illustrated by James Mayhew, who is famous for bringing live classical music, art and storytelling to families across the UK.

There are also Musical Notes where you can find out more about the stories and music, plus James's recommended recordings to download and listen to.

Publisher: Otter-Barry Books Ltd
ISBN: 9781913074036
Number of pages: 96
Dimensions: 290 x 250 mm


"A gorgeous gift book of six stories which inspired world-famous music…vibrantly illustrated in Mayhew’s own full-colour art. The book includes Musical Notes on works and composers" - Fiona Noble, The Bookseller

"A glorious, magical, lyrical book full of thrills and wonder and magic! Just look at the artwork!" - The Reading Realm (via Twitter)

"Each tale is sumptuously illustrated throughout and readers will spend time looking closely at the colourful detail in each picture. As well as this, the book includes Musical Notes where you can find out more about the stories and if, like me, you are inspired to listen to the music, the author includes recommended recordings. This is a splendid resource for any children to begin learning more about classical music and I hope will be found in all primary schools." - The Letterpress Project

“Magnificent and generous…you can tell that creating it has been a heartfelt project and mission for James Mayhew, who both recounts the stories and illustrates them, in a style perfectly fitted to the target audience (5+). The book is beautifully designed…the artwork is breathtakingly good. ACHUKA cannot recommend this book highly enough.” - Achuka - Book of the Day

"With each of the stories we are drawn into exciting and beautifully illustrated worlds of magic and story, of adventures of a lifetime." - Armadillo

"One of the most beautiful looking books I've seen for a very long time. It's an absolutely captivating combination of art, storytelling ad classical music...A delight, pure and simple." - Jon Biddle, Twitter

"A truly unique, beautifully illustrated picture book, sharing what James does so beautifully: bringing story and music together to ignite your imagination and inspire you to go on your own musical journey." - Jo Bowers, Twitter

"A vibrant collection...This book is a rich introduction to international fairytales and to classical music." - Nicolette Jones, Sunday Times

"A beautiful new book capturing the magic of stories behind major orchestral works." - Gramophone

“The stories are excitingly told and stunningly illustrated.” - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books blog

“Each [story] is illustrated and told with James’s consummate skill and artistry… I love so many things about this book, not least being the clever way in which snippets of musical notation form part of the stunning illustrations on every spread… This is a book that surely deserves a place on family bookshelves and in classroom collections.” - Red Reading Hub

“A beautiful book, full of stunning illustrations...a true celebration of the timeless appeal of a good story…The artwork is sure to inspire children to create collages or paintings of scenes from stories or perhaps to paint whilst listening to the music as James does so brilliantly…both beautifully designed and beautifully written- an absolute joy!” - North Somerset Children's Book Award blog

“A beautiful book, full of stunning illustrations. Six stories from around the world have been lovingly retold and each has been the inspiration for wonderful music…beautifully designed and beautifully written- an absolute joy!” - The Reading Zone

“This beautiful hardback contains six stories compellingly retold and wonderfully illustrated…A fantastic way to introduce orchestral music to young people and to combine it with magical storytelling.” - Juno

“James Mayhew breathes new life into folklore and myths from around the world by weaving motifs and artwork using different techniques and letting the music infuse his brushes, and the pages, with such an inspired sensitivity and touch, the reader is transported to magical lands far and wide…It should be in every classroom and in every home, as fairy tale to read and look at, a learning aid in the creative curriculum, and, deeper still, a 'magic carpet' and balm for the soul!” - Readinggroups.org, The Reading Agency

“A really gorgeous book which would be a wonderful gift or addition to your bookshelf.” - BookTrust

"A rich introduction to international fairytales and to classical music, with retellings of the tales behind six celebrated pieces, from Scheherazade to William Tell. Influenced by the folk art of the source countries, the sumptuous images reflect the mood of the music." - Nicolette Jones, Sunday Times Children's Books of the Year

“A simply stunning book crafted with love and skill. It contains six carefully selected stories which have inspired great pieces of Classical music…A perfect gift book likely to be treasured and pored over by adults and children alike.” - Nicolette Jones, Books for Keeps 5 star review

"Once Upon a Tune: Stories from the Orchestra by James Mayhew (Otter-Barry) contains six absorbing tales, each the source of wonderful music, all brought to life by Mayhew’s compelling storytelling and exquisitely textured pictures. This gorgeous introduction to works such as Peer Gynt and Scheherazade explores musical context, and provides links to recommended recordings." - Imogen Russell Williams, The Guardian: Best Children's Books of 2021

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