The Remarkable Farkle McBride
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The Remarkable Farkle McBride

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4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  242 ratings  ·  51 reviews
Reedle-ee Rootle-ee

Vroom-pety BANG!

Young Farkle McBride is a musical genius: He plays the violin, the flute, the trombone, and the drums with incredible skill. But he's never satisfied: Something is missing.

In his first book, actor and musician John Lithgow introduces a memorable character, a fickle yet lovable child prodigy who brings the sounds and rhythms of an orchest...more
Paperback, 40 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published 2000)
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CH _Kenya  Walker
What a delightfully funny story! The Remarkable Farkle McBride is a story about a musical genius who masters playing every instrument as an expert. He is praised and adored for his incredible talent yet he is never satisfied. Year after year he masters one instrument after another to discover that something is missing. It isn't until he asked to be the conductor of the orchestra that he discovers what he has been searching for and that is the collaboration of all the instruments. John Lithgow in...more
Cheryl
Not just a book for children, this is one of those that many adults will be able to read over and over. A truly delightful book that simply demands one reads it aloud! Loved the CD too. Excellent, extremely humorous look at a very gifted little boy with very indulgent and wealthy parents who wasn't happy until he found the best place for him. Lots of conversation to be found in this deceptively simple, funny book.

I suspect there are a whole lot of Farkle McBride look-a-likes of all ages out the...more
Britt Kitko
Summary: Star of 3rd Rock from the Sun, actor John Lithgow is less well known as a music enthusiast, but in his comical verse story The Remarkable Farkle McBride, he has created the musical prodigy he would perhaps like to have been. Farkle is a little boy with astounding talents (he's playing violin with the orchestra by the age of 3) but little perseverance. Each year he gets bored with his instrument, takes up and masters a new one, and then gets bored with that. Of his recently beloved tromb...more
Laura Gibbs
This book is all about a little boy named Farkle McBride who is searching for an instrument to play. He is really talented, and loves to play! Each time he plays one, he plays it for awhile and then he gets really annoyed of it and really tired of it and throws it away until he finds another one. He goes from playing the violin to the flute to the trombone to the drums; though his parents would get disappointed when he got rid of them he didn’t care! Finally, at the end of the book, he realizes...more
Shanna Gonzalez
This unusual rhyming book, full of wordplay and visual humor, tells the story of a child prodigy who, each year of his life, masters a new musical instrument and then tires of it, throwing it away in dramatic frustration. At age ten he reaches the pinnacle of his musical career when he is asked to conduct the orchestra, and his musical capabilities are at last fulfilled.

The text is cleverly written with unusual vocabulary, a snappy rhythm, and a sly mood. C.F. Payne, who has been called "The New...more
Becky
Mar 15, 2008 Becky rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: any kids
Shelves: children-and-ya
Farkle McBride is not satisfied. He's a musical genius who masters every instrument he picks up, only to toss it away out of boredom soon after. By the end of this story, told in fun, lilting verse, Farkle has found a way to be involved in music; a way that also holds his interest.

John Lithgow's books are a cut above many other children's books written by celebrities. The rhymed verse that he uses to tell Farkle's story bounces and rambles along, and it's almost impossible not to hear Lithgow's...more
Tami
Perhaps better known to adults for his stage and screen work, actor John Lithgow has an amazing body of work for children. His picture books are some of my (and my children’s) absolute favorites!

Topping the list for me is The Remarkable Farkle McBride. The story centers around a young boy who is a musical prodigy. He is able to master instrument after instrument with ease, but throws each one away as he becomes bored with it. Through an unfortunate illness on the part of the orchestra conductor...more
Kim
I genuinely liked this book for so many reasons. It's the type of book that could be expanded. I could easily use it for a music and arts module. Instrument intro, research on composers, sensory and sounds - there is so much here to work with. Plus, it could serve as a discussion board to jump off into change and transitions in terms of interests and life. Yes!

Rating: 4.25
Recommend: Yes
Amanda
Farkle McBride is a musical prodigy; however, ever year he seems to lose interest in the instrument he has mastered. His parents and family quickly become frustrated and wonder what is he going to do when he has mastered every instrument in the orchestra!?!? Lithgow's rhyming verse is musical in this charming story of a boy that loves music, instruments, and the way the all sound together!
Julia Jasztal
Mommy's review from 11/26/11 -


This is the only Lithgow book Julia and I haven't liked. After reading Micawber I fell in love with Lithgow's writing and we're since read quite a few. (His self-read audio's are very, very worth checking out also!)
But the illustrations here are so stomach-turning that I couldn't even concentrate on the story. Julia felt the same way even though she said it in a different way. She kept groaning each time we turned the page.
On a smaller note, I tend to dislike books...more
PacaLipstick Gramma
A fun book about a musical prodigy! The words are a little advanced for younger crowd, but one can always improvise!!

The illustrations are over the top hilarious.

My grandson, age six, enjoyed it even if he didn't understand all the words.
Jessica
I loved this book--the illustrations are realistic but sort of off, and coming from a musical family I can't get enough of the picture books that feature classical musical instruments. The story is told in rhyme, and I reading it I can almost hear John Lithgow's voice telling the story. Another reason I love this book is that the Orchestra musicians are members of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and on the last big fold out image of the entire orchestra, you can see my mom in the bass section...more
Allison
Love this book. John Lithgow proves he is a talented author in addition to being a stellar actor.
Kimberly Ward
I picked up this book because of the amazing illustrations by C.F. Payne, but also found many uses for teaching with this book by author and actor John Lithgow. The book is about a young boy, Farkle, who is a prodigy musician; once he learns and masters an instrument he becomes bored and frustrated until he discards the instrument and moves on to another. Yet, he is never happy until he puts them all together and becomes a conductor. This book would be very useful in teaching the different music...more
Christyc
Lithgow has an Amazing way with words and rhyme.
Alicia Scully
I had the pleasure of having this read to me during a program about music and this book was both informative and entertaining. Farkle is a child progeny and he slowly goes through each section of the orchestra as he tries to discover what he wants to do for the rest of his life. There are a lot of words, so young readers may find themselves bored if they find it too long, but the detailed and hyperbolic illustrations may keep them entertained. This is a great was to teach kids about music and th...more
Stephanie Mixon
This is such a cute rhyming book that tells of Farkle's discoveries in musical instruments. This is creatively done through the text and illustrations. Farkle, a musical prodigy continues to go through instrument after instrument to find his favorite one.

This is a great book to introduce poetry to 2nd or 3rd graders. It has a great rhythm with funny humor that children will enjoy. This is also a great tool to use to teach about music and instruments. This also shows the importance of enjoying in...more
Jessica Vandewarker
Students will enjoy this musical ensemble. It is filled with onomatopoeia and will tickle one's funny bone. The book's theme is on finding your niche in the world. Students will be able to find that you do not need to do only one thing your entire life, but what makes you happy. They might be a little intimidated by young Farkle's immediate success but will realize that he is a normal boy. This book is suitable for all ages and all will find enjoyment in it as Farkle McBride finds his place in o...more
Jamie
The flow and timing of this book is great! The kids enjoyed listening to it and seeing all of the great pictures
Shelli
Farkle McBride has always been musically inclined; mastering every instrument he picks up. Over a short time he tires of these instruments and moves on. While reading this I could't help but think of his parents and the amount of money that must have been spent on these expensive musical endeavors, careless tossed aside with definite finality. However, sometimes we have to learn, and leave, before we find out true calling, which is what Farkle finally finds by the end of this tale.
Ruth
I love the pictures and the opportunity to teach about different musical instruments. I don't like the snotty spoiled brat attitude and how he always gets his way. Just because a child is a genius doesn't mean they can always get what they wants, disrespect things, or treat others disrespectfully. Of course when he finally discovers what fits him best he is happiest. So another lesson could be to keep searching till you find what makes you feel the most fulfilled.
lisa
I love John Lithgow as an actor, but for some reason or another, I wasn't expecting much in way of his literary talent. Wow, was I surprised. We read this to the kids in my music class, and not only is the storyline adorable (a little boy who samples an array of instruments in search of the one that tickles his fancy) but the words themselves have a rhythm all their own. Fantastic.
Kelsey
Age: 3-7 years

A whimsical romp of musical delight, Farkle Mcbride is a prodigy in every instrument he picks up--he just can't tolerate the noise for very long. But when an ensemble needs him most, he takes up the cause and finds his perfect role.

Wonderfully rhyming with an opportunity to read aloud sounds from instruments. Perfect for storytime--even a felt story.
Dolly
Feb 28, 2009 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Shelves: 2009, childrens
It's an interesting, but strange story about a musical prodigy that gets frustrated with each musical instrument he tries. The illustrations are comical, and recognizable by C.F. Payne, who has illustrated many back covers of the Reader's Digest, among other publications. Our girls love John Lithgow's books (especially Marsupial Sue because of the wonderful lyrics and song.)
Crissy
I really like the illustrations on this one, and the rhythm of the text is fantastic. A wonderful read aloud book. I also really liked the recording of John Lithgow and the orchestra playing the parts. This one will probably turn into a bedtime favorite for our son, right now, at six-months-old he enjoys pounding the pages while I enjoy reading it to him.
Heidi
Odd pictures in that some of the proportions are off. I've never been a huge fan of that kind of illustration, even if I do see the humor. And even if it does go with the story like it does here. I like the story. I like the rhyming. And I like how he finds happiness. Not quite what I was looking for in Book Time for a read, but perfect for a Book Talk.
Jessica Fuss
AWESOME childrens book! It is the tale of little Farkle McBride and his ongoing love/hate relationship with Musical Instruments. He masters them, then hates them. In the end he finds his true calling, to conduct the whole orchestra. John Lithgow does a musical reading to this whis is awesome. Anything that brings music to a childs life is OK with me.
Ellen Maze
Jun 14, 2010 Ellen Maze rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: people who read aloud to children, all children
This is a very adorable book that is SUPER FUN to read aloud. I recommend it to anyone who reads aloud to children, as well as anyone with kids who love to read rhyme. I've never seen better rhyme--ever!
John Lithgow blew my mind with this one!
The artwork is TOP NOTCH and it makes me smile so big. I'm sure you will love it too!
Sarah Stumphf
I think the pictures freaked out my two year old a little and some of the words were a bit difficult to pronounce which gave the prose a stilted air when read aloud.
Marilyn
At first I was not impressed with his tantrums. I read it again on request and I liked it better. To keep trying new things is a good idea. Being civil while you're doing it is a good one, too ;) I liked that it teaches you the genre of instruments--winds, brass, string, percussion.
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