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88 Instruments

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  428 ratings  ·  83 reviews
"A little boy can't choose which instrument to play, so he decides to try them all"-- ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published August 16th 2016 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published August 1st 2016)
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Average rating 3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  428 ratings  ·  83 reviews

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Feb 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
How does a boy choose what instrument to learn when he has 88 to choose from? Try them all until he finds just the right one. The word play is so much fun. Squonkiest, twangiest, many words to describe the instruments he was experimenting with. Also, the message is clear that you just have to take it slow and learn a little at a time to master an instrument.
A little boy goes into a music store with 88 different instruments and is told by his parents that he can only choose one. How on earth will he choose from so many? He'll just have to try each one.

...and based on the one he chooses might explain my affection for this book. :)

I also loved the rhythm and the word play of the text. Would be a fun read aloud.
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
First sentence: 88! That's how many pounding, surrounding, astounding-mound-of-sounding instruments are in this shop. But...I can take lessons on only one. Not 75, or 64, or 33, or 12. "One," says Dad. "For now," says Mom. "Your pick!" says Dad. "Within reason," says Mom. How am I supposed to pick just one? Do I pick the squeeziest? The wheeziest?

Premise/plot: The narrator of 88 Instruments is having a tough time deciding on ONE instrument from the music shop. What instrument should he learn to
Luisa Knight
The exploration of the instruments and their sounds is short and sweet to entice and enthrall even the young story listeners. And the book makes a fun connection that parents might not be privy to.

Ages: 3 - 7

**Like my reviews? I also have hundreds of detailed reports that I offer too. These reports give a complete break-down of everything in the book, so you'll know just how clean it is or isn't. I also have Clean Guides (downloadable PDFs) which enable you to clean up your book before reading
Vernon Area Public Library KIDS
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Ages 3-6
A child goes with his parents to the music store to pick his first instrument. At first, he's overwhelmed by all the possibilities, but in the end he plays the right chord (just a little musical humor!) with his choice of instrument. This book has beautiful watercolors illustrations.

Reviewed by Debbie Hersh, Circulation, Vernon Area Public Library
Apr 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a pianist, I'm quite partial to this book! ...more
John Clark
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When a boy is faced with choosing only one instrument to play, it's a daunting task, especially in a shop where there are 88 instruments to choose from. The story takes little readers through the choices by having the main character play (or try to play) each, with appropriate accompanying expressions on his parents' faces. Does he go loud? Does he go small and simple? Should he tweet, slide or bang? The illustrations do a 'bang up' job of showcasing his dilemma. When he makes his choice, it see ...more
Feb 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a cute picture book that shares one boy's difficult time trying to choose a musical instrument to play. This would be a fun book to share with my students, since fourth and fifth grade is when they start to participate in instrumental music. This is the time of year when students are trying to decide what instrument to play. ...more
Edward Sullivan
Aug 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books, music
Fun story full of superlatives that will make for a good read aloud.
Aug 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
If I were a piano teacher, I would give a copy of this to each of my new young students who are K-2nd. A great book to celebrate learning how to play the piano at a young age.
Krissy Neddo
Oct 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Gave this one to my music teacher and she said she really liked reading to her classes.
Aug 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have always used Eve Merriam's "The Philharmonic Gets Dressed" for introducing musical instruments to children. Barton's book with its simple text and Thomas's illustrations deals with a little boy who cannot decide which instrument to play. He considers brass, strings, piano and percussion as he makes his choice. Finally, he elects to try them all.

While the names of each instrument are not given in the narrative, they can be pointed out by a knowledgeable reader when the book is shared with c
Read  Ribbet
Barton's book celebrates musical instruments but is also a metaphor for the importance of making the right choice. A young boy must decide which of the 88 instruments he wants to to take lessons to learn. The reader sees the difficulty of the choice but the importance of ultimately making the right choice. The book has a great opening sentence with a wonderful use of assonance. The book is also loaded with superlatives providing models for writers. The book can certainly be positioned for many p ...more
Jim Sibigtroth
Jul 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-aloud-1st
Nice little picture book showing a variety of musical instruments. A boy’s parents take him to a music store to select ONE instrument to get lessons. He tries a lot and finally notices the piano and loves the sounds. But there are a lot of keys to learn. How many? Coincidentally there are 88.
For me, there is also a local tie-in...the author Chris Barton lives in Austin, Texas near my home and he likes Rhapsody in Blue.
This took me all of about - literally, no exaggeration - 30 seconds to read. It is a very simple story, but even so it was cute and I hope that it might encourage my son to practice a little bit more. It uses fun words to describe the sounds of the instruments, and it encourages the right instrument for the best grounding in music.
Donna Mork
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Cute, about a child choosing an instrument to learn to play, then feeling intimidated by all the keys on the piano (which is what he decides to learn), but realizing, he just has to learn one key at a time, not all 88 at once.
Jun 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s
I really like the idea of this book but felt like it could have been developed a little more. More instruments, more rhythm in the language, etc. And why not name some of the instruments so kids can get interested? I read this as a read-along at ...more
Jul 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books, music
My kids are 3 and 5. I'll be starting them with early piano lessons this fall and we'll go at their own determined pace. This book was a great introduction to all the different instruments and I love that the boy picks the piano. ...more
Nov 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great pictures and lyrics

This book has catchy lyrics and great pictures. I would recommend it for kids and parents in elementary school. It is fun to learn about all music instruments.
Nov 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read this for a literacy project and fell in love with it! I plan on buying my own copy soon. I especially found the little twist at the end adorable.
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids-books
This makes me want to play piano, says Zavier. Perfect!
Laura McLoughlin
Nice book about finding your perfect instrument. More musically inclined parents/kids will probably get more out of it than I did.
Jun 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
For any child who has ever learned an instrument (against her will or otherwise). What instrument will this kid choose???
I can see music teachers using this onomatopoetic romp.
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-book
So many instruments to choice from which one will he pick to learn to play?
Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Weakest of the Caldecott entries this year for me.
Good for a music themed storytime.
Michelle Gray
Themes: music, sound
Sep 21, 2018 rated it liked it
I generally enjoy this, but I'm not sure it would work for storytime. ...more
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