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Introducing young tots to music can seem challenging, but using musical books is a brilliant way to get them excited and learning. Interactive elements such as sound buttons and flaps will capture the attention of even the youngest of babies, while more advanced storylines can keep them interested as they progress through early years.
Here are the best musical books we've found for your children, from their first experiences of different instruments to later forays into the world of performance.
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This is a wonderful place to start introducing your child to different sounds and the instruments that make them. Meet Squirrel, Mole, Badger and other woodland animals as they practise for an upcoming concert, and listen to them play with interactive sound buttons. With a storyline to keep older ones interested and beautiful illustrations for smaller tots, this is a brilliant musical starting place.
0 to 5
If woodland animals won’t appeal, try Noisy Orchestra! With elephants, hippos and even a monkey this introduction to the orchestra covers everything from woodwind to drums. This is a more robust board book capable of withstanding enthusiastic small hands, and parents love the speaker system, which brings all of the animals together in concert at the end.
0 to 5
If bedtimes are difficult and you could use some musical assistance, Baby's Bedtime Music Book is the book for you. While illustrated owls play classical tunes to lull the other animals to sleep, your child can explore five different tunes within the book - hopefully with the same soporific effects. A warning however; this is the loudest speaker of any of the books on our list!
0 to 5
If you're looking for a more informative introduction to the composition of an orchestra, the First Book About Orchestra is the place to start. Every page explores a different group of instruments and provides musical clips so your child can identify them by sound as well as sight, and if this isn't enough for your curious tot then there's even a QR code to listen to the whole piece of music online. This is one of our favourites and comes highly recommended for children of all ages!
3 to 6
While some musical books for children simply attach a CD of famous classical pieces, this book brilliantly integrates their musical examples into the reading experience. Asking children to recognise the different places they might hear classical music, they are then guided through a selection of famous composers and each of the instrument families. Each musical extract is just long enough to illustrate the lesson, but timed well to prevent small minds from wandering too far.
5 to 7
This entire series is brilliant, but The Nutcracker and Four Seasons In One Day are the two standouts. In Four Seasons Isabelle and Pickle introduce your child to Vivaldi's music as they explore a festival, an Easter egg hunt and the first winter storms, while The Nutcracker is a beautiful retelling of the ballet. Each book in this line has a sound button on every page so there's more than enough music to give your child a taste of the different composers, but the stories are complex and interesting enough to stand on their own.
6 to 9
No CD here, but 40 downloadable music samples to accompany this advanced introduction to the writing, making and listening to music. This book divides itself into three terms of lessons guided by The Maestro - Sergio Trunk. With a cast of brilliantly imaginative characters from opera singers to organ players it's easy to see why Daniel Frost has won awards for his amazing illustrations.
7 to 10
Moving on from some of the more beginner-friendly books on this list, The Story of the Orchestra will capture the imagination of any child aged 8 to 12. Packed with illustrations and photos, this book also comes with a CD of 37 different tunes - over an hour of music to delight your little one. Fun facts and interesting anecdotes take you beyond many other introductory books, making this the perfect choice for a child interested in more than just how to recognise the different instruments.
8 to 12