Thursday, June 21, 2007

Ben's Trumpet

When I was a child I used to love drums, mridangam and any type of percussion instrument. I used to play imaginary drums. I guess most of us in our young age would have played some imaginary instrument. It is probably imaginary now; but, while playing it - it would have been the world for us. We would have probably heard the slight nuances and variations in the sounds and rhythm.
Ben's Trumpet is a story of a kid who loves the trumpet. He lives near a Jazz club called Zig Zag Club and listens to the music every night. He plays his imaginary trumpet along with the other musicians in the club. Many days he falls asleep listening and playing his trumpet.

Everyday morning, on his way to the school he peeps inside the club and watches the various musicians practice. He notices all the musicians, but considers the trumpeter as the cat's meow(I learnt that this phrase means 'something that is outstanding').

He plays his wonderful trumpet to his whole family and every where he goes. One day the trumpeter from Zig Zag club watches him and commends him on his wonderful music. A few days later on his way back from the school, a few children bully him and make fun of his imaginary trumpet. He is downcast and walks home dejected.

He continues to keep a vigil outside the club; but no longer plays his trumpet. The musicians come out for a break and the trumpeter of the club notices him downcast. He invites him inside the club, gives him a real trumpet and says - 'and we'll see what we can do'.

The book is written and illustrated by Rachel Isadore and initially published in 1979. Illustrations are in deco style using ink (and/or pencil drawings). The illustrations are impressive and indicate the mood of the story. The images are electric and the words are minimum in every page. The depictions of the various musicians, while playing their instruments, are very realistic and captures the intensity. The illustration of the drummer has a lot of movement and captures the speed and the rhythm of playing the drums. An illustration of the trumpeter from Zig Zig club walking by depicts the coolness and swagger of the person.

A very simple and heartwarming story with some impressive illustrations. Just One More Book has a wonderful podcast on Ben's Trumpet. Their discussion captures the essence of this book more than this blogpost entry.

Update: Made a few changes to the text. Did not notice that there were quite a few typos in my original post.


Meera Sriram said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meera Sriram said...

I almost had a black & white motion picture going on in my mind, the jazz club, trumpeting and everything:) A neat story about passion and perseverance.

sathish said...

meera, it looks like a b & w motion picture..
some of the illustrations are a bit abstract though - we need to spend a few minutes on the illustration to get a hang of it atleast in a few pages..

Praba Ram said...

Wow..Another Caldecott pick! What a neat idea - imaginary instrument!

Guitar fits that kind of imagination really well - I'm sure most of us would have pretended to play a guitar..(can be a bit annoying to others who watch..! :-))...K is often found dancing these days to I guess, imaginary tunes that she alone can hear..

Does Sooraj learn any instrument or vocal music?

M - R's empress dance story that you had posted recently comes to mind..(waiting for the imaginary friend to go first on stage! ) :-)

Wow, kids have such incredible imaginations

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