Wouldn’t it be grand for every little town to have its own band? One little town decided to put out the call inviting all the town musicians to congregate and form a band. All kinds of instrumentalists arrived, intent on creating a grand sound to make the town proud. But some instruments were too loud and others too soft and the result was a cacophony of noise. They tried wearing smart band uniforms, and creating a special bandshell in which to perform. The townspeople were dismayed, because their band sounded dreadful. That is, until a young boy walked up to the band and asked them if they had all practiced together. Now any parent, and definitely any music teacher, knows how important it is to practice. The band hadn’t practiced. That was the problem. So, they practiced and became an instant success, something the town could be proud of.
Tom Jahnke’s picture book story, Little Town Band, is delightful. Told in rhyming verse with beautiful illustrations, the story is both entertaining and educational. The band instruments are introduced one at a time, teaching young readers about each instrument, like the “big tuba”, the “small silver flute” and the “slick slide trombone slid all over the place”. The author uses lots of metaphors, alliteration and imaginative associations to make this story come alive. The reader can almost hear the cacophony of noise produced by this un-practiced town band. There is an important message in this precious story: the old saying that “practice makes perfect” is very appropriate for this little town band.