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The Philharmonic Gets Dressed
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The Philharmonic Gets Dressed

4.15  ·  Rating Details ·  433 Ratings  ·  68 Reviews
"It is almost Friday night. Outside, the dark is getting darker," and here and there around the city ninety-two men and thirteen women are getting dressed to go to work. First they bathe and put on their underwear. Then they don special black-and-white apparel. Then when the one hundred and five people are completely ready, each takes a musical instrument and travels to mi ...more
Paperback, 48 pages
Published September 25th 1986 by HarperCollins (first published 1982)
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Mar 06, 2011 Manybooks rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in the philharmonic
Written by the late Karla Kuskin and illustrated by Marc Simont, this rather lengthy picture book shows the hundred and five members of a philharmonic orchestra preparing to go to work on a Friday night. Interspersed with gentle humour, The Philharmonic Gets Dressed depicts the preparations the members of the philharmonic go through before the start of a public performance (washing, dressing, traveling to the orchestra hall), and that at a time of day, when most people are settling in for a nigh ...more
Mar 28, 2011 Ronyell rated it really liked it
Recommended to Ronyell by: The Picture-Book Club
I was reading this book for the Goodreads Picture Book Club and I was extremely intrigued with this book! “The Philharmonic Gets Dressed” is a children’s book by Karla Kuskin along with illustrations Marc Simont that details the preparation that the members of the Philharmonic Orchestra must undergo to get ready for their encore! “The Philharmonic Gets Dressed” is a great book for children who love learning about the inner workings of an orchestra!

It is Friday night and ninety-two men and thirte
Lisa Vegan
I love the symphony and I love books, but I thought that this book was dull. The illustrations are wonderful. The text was plodding. It’s a very straightforward, detailed account of orchestra members getting dressed, leaving their homes, and going to work to make music together, and it ends before any music starts. It would have been a more interesting book with the illustrations and no words at all. Maybe it was my mood, but I thought that this was a boring, ineffective way to try to excite chi ...more
Crystal Marcos
Mar 26, 2011 Crystal Marcos rated it it was ok
The Philharmonic Gets Dressed was a Picture Book Club read for this month's theme "Music"

I liked the concept of the book giving incite into what the Philharmonic does to get ready for the evening. However, it just didn't come together for me. While the pictures were interesting enough, the text however was not. I found myself skimming the text in the middle of the book because it become quite doldrum. It wasn't so much about music itself, but about the pe
Mar 17, 2011 Dolly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is an interesting and unusual way to look at an orchestra; it shows how many parts have to come together for this group to become one and "turn black notes on white pages into a symphony." We loved the fun illustrations (Marc Simont is one of our favorites from all the Nate The Great stories we've read) and the people in underwear definitely got a giggle from our girls. The narrative was simple, and a math exercise in itself. We loved pointing out all the instruments we knew and I had fun g ...more
Mar 02, 2011 Luann rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-book
I like the concept of showing the members of a Philharmonic orchestra getting ready for their performance. But why oh why did Simont have to show so many adults in their underwear or coming out of a shower or bath and only covered by steam or a towel? I live in a very conservative area where nearly naked adults is something of a problem in a children's picture book. This was a Reading Rainbow book so I didn't worry about content before I purchased it. I haven't seen that episode, but I would rea ...more
Jackie "the Librarian"
Jun 06, 2008 Jackie "the Librarian" rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: ages 5 and up
Underwear is funny! I guess there are objections to this book because it depicts adults in their underwear. I'm bemused by that.
Karla Kuskin's charming description of the preparations of the men and women of the orchestra for their evening, climbing into their formal wear, and arriving at the concert hall. It's all described with affection and humor. The illustrations by Marc Simont pair perfectly, to make this a gem of a book to share with your youngest music lovers.
May 25, 2010 Dianna rated it it was amazing
105 members of the philharmonic take baths, dry off, put on their underthings, get dressed, put on their coats, etc., and go to the concert hall to play a concert. I enjoyed the accuracy in illustration, such as the timpanist putting his head down to the drum to tune. They really got the details right.
Since I don't have kids of my own, I can only assume that at some point in a child’s development, he/she gets interested in the routines of bathing, drying off, personal grooming, and getting dressed and accessorized — perhaps wondering how other people do the same things??

If so, then this is the book you’ve been looking for as there are plenty of “getting ready” montages. And even though the book was published more than 30 years ago, I found the illustrations still charming and modern.

It’s a fu
Oct 02, 2007 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-lit
This was more of a 3.75 stars for me, but I'm rounding up. There seemed to be a inordinate number of lines devoted to the specifics of the underwear the musicians were wearing (?) but once I got past that (all I could think of was why are we talking about underwear so much??) I did like it : )
Joelisa Aparicio
Aug 10, 2016 Joelisa Aparicio rated it liked it
I'm little bored and because they like be process in start clothes to finish and going to music play, and make me bored.
Colby Sharp
Jun 25, 2013 Colby Sharp rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book
This book is a hoot!
Nice intro to instruments in an orchestra, plus a "getting dressed" book, for early elementary.
Nov 02, 2016 Katie rated it liked it
Slightly confusing with all the numbers. Odd showing the showering and underwear parts. I guess shows they are like everyone else. Gives a good simple, and broad overview of a symphony
Katie Fitzgerald
This picture book follows the members of an orchestra as they get dressed for their evening concert. I have read this book before, but had somehow never recorded it on Goodreads. It is an absolutely wonderful read-aloud. The language flows so smoothly, that the feel of the words coming out of my mouth was really enjoyable. The artwork is also very detailed and interesting, and it is fun to try following one character through the entire book. Curious preschoolers will love the specific details of ...more
Feb 09, 2015 Colleen rated it liked it
This book had a lot more words in it than I had initially expected when I found it in the picture book section of the library, but for higher-level readers, it is a lovely and unique book. It details the various ways that the people of the Philharmonic get ready for work in the evening, with illustrations of people making humorous faces as they do so (such as the lady singing operatically in the bathtub, or the man who appears to be slumped in his armchair in defeat after failing to tie his bow ...more
Jennifer Lavonier
Oct 17, 2012 Jennifer Lavonier rated it it was amazing
Karka Kuskin (1932-2009) was a prolific author and illustrator for children. Her prose in this book is flawless. In this unique book, she perfectly describes the events and preparations that lead up to the performance of the orchestral concert.

Marc Simont is both a Caldecott Honor recipient (The Happy Day, 1950) and a Caldecott Medal Winner (A Tree is Nice, 1957). He also illustrated most of the books in the Nate the Great series. His art is glorious, expressive and lively. Combining saturated
Mar 03, 2008 Stephen rated it really liked it
This is the friendly children's tale of the 105 people in the NY Philharmonic and how they prepare for work each Friday evening.

It is amusingly detailed, both in words and pictures (imagine the drawings of people focused intently on dressing as you read):

The men wear undershorts or briefs. Some of the men wear T-shirt undershirts with sleeves. Some wear undershirts without sleeves, and a few of the ninety-two do not wear undershirts at all. But night and the temperature are falling, and one thi
Meghan Erena
This book was not one of my favorite picture story books. I was disappointed after reading a story book that seemed to be based around a philharmonic, but in fact spoke very little about music at all.I hoped that this would be a fun book to incorporate into a music lesson, but there was not much relevant material on music to use. The book did not really tell a great story, but rather listed steps that individuals take in getting dressed, including showers. This book would be more appropriate for ...more
Sep 06, 2012 Bridget rated it it was amazing
It's dark in the city and we zoom in, to see illustrator Marc Simont's beautifully comical vignettes of a wide variety of men and women getting dressed, struggling with socks and tights... and then public transport. From all corners of the city they come together - "and their work is to play. And they play beautifully".
That last sentence speaks volumes! Wonderful book, beautifully illustrated and written. John Betjeman would have loved it too, I reckon.
Just don't read the title before you rea
Sq.Hill Library
Mar 19, 2008 Sq.Hill Library rated it it was amazing
Shelves: claire
My mother read this to me when I was growing up, and it was one of my favorite books...and still is! She's a children's librarian and always has the best taste in ilterature.

This whimsical and informative book discusses what it's like to be a member of the Philharmonic Orchestra; what happens before you go to work, what you wear, what you do. It is full of tiny, fun details that kids can find and point out again and again (the cat on the toilet seat, the skinny man with the tie) and a wonderfull
Jan 08, 2009 Rachel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Illustrates and describes 105 members of the Phillharmonic orchestra getting dressed.

"First they get washed. There are ninety-two men and three women. Many take showers. A few take baths. Two men and three women run bubblebaths, and one man reads in the tub while the cat watches. One woman sits in the bubbles and sings."

No one would publish a picture book like this now, because it shows adults in towels, underwear, bras, etc. But it is wonderful, following a group of people through their prepara
Aug 04, 2008 Jamie rated it it was ok
I found this in a box of old books I was getting ready to donate to the library, but decided to keep it, since the illustrations are neat, and there aren't many kids books about the Philharmonic! This book is exactly what the title describes -- members of the Philharmonic getting dressed. A little outdated, a little quirky, and also (unfortunately) a little bit boring. My favorite part is the text from an ad in one of the illustrations. One of the musicians is riding the subway to the concert ha ...more
Jul 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Peppered with humour and interesting details, 105 parallel melodies of quiet, private bustling sweep us from the calm of a chilly dusk to the resounding beauty of a symphony’s first notes in this inspiring peek at the talented, not-so-unlike-us individuals whose work is to play — beautifully.

Listen to our chat about The Philharmonic Gets Dressed on our Children's Book Podcast:

Mar 29, 2012 Susan rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
I would have liked this picture book a lot more if I had not been so disturbed at the beginning with all the pictures of adults bathing/showering and then in their various versions of underwear. I really liked the idea of showing the performers as individuals coming from lots of backgrounds, real people with families, pets, etc., but naked? in their underwear? I CAN'T read that to the students at my school!
Feb 19, 2015 Emily rated it did not like it
I had thought the title was metaphorical, but it is in fact, not. The book is /literally/ about the members of the Philharmonic orchestra gretting dressed. No garment is spared mention or illustration. If you start reading mid-book it's a cute read--I love the line "one hundred and five men and women dressed completely in black and white have gone to work turning the black notes on white pages into a symphony"--but otherwise I was not impressed.
Oct 04, 2013 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
Nails it. Puts us all in the same room (of underwear-wearers and transit-riders) and then puts some of us on stage, about to do the work of playing. Of course some of what one I love is the idea of a large orchestra employing so many musicians and that they'd all take transit and not have to arrive until just a few minutes before the concert starts. But mostly I want every one of these vignettes poster-sized they are so human and fun.
Nicholas Clinch
Aug 23, 2016 Nicholas Clinch rated it really liked it
Our boys enjoying hearing this read aloud, the details and process of people getting ready for work, that amazing job of music, to play beautifully! It's making them excited to see The Nutcracker again, watching the musicians tune & guide the dancers with their music. Also the magic of sheet music which is meant to be read aloud, to be interpreted for listeners, to be shared. A lovely down-to-earth, intro to classical performance.
Apr 02, 2012 Rachel rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
A unique and unusually engaging introduction to understanding the diversity of the people behind an art and a career. I was surprised that the getting dressed part was covered so thoroughly in a children's picture book. Some of the pictures were clever and amusing but others were just distracting and awkward and made my children want to skip through them briskly. Beside those disappointments the rest of the book was charming.
Jun 05, 2010 David rated it really liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
In these pages Karla Kuskin and Marc Simont combine their talents to give us a delightful and unusual inside view of one way an orchestra prepares. (Goodreads Summary)

The Philharmonic Gets Dressed is a cute and amusing look at how the members of the Philarmonic get ready to go to a concert. The detailed illustrations provide much of the humor and also provide information about the orchestra. Fun to share with kids ages 4 to 7.
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Karla Kuskin was an author and illustrator of children's literature, as well as a frequent reviewer of books.
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