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Homeschool Crew Review: The Tortoise and the Hare by Maestro Classics



Our family eagerly anticipated getting The Tortoise and the Hare by Maestro Classics  for the Homeschool Review Crew.  We all love both classical music and Aesop’s fables, so this review promised to be fun. 


When, finally, the package arrived, we sat down to listen to it immediately.  Having expected a simple fable set to well-known classical music, I was surprised.  The music was composed especially for this creative modernization of the fable, and the CD includes a lot more than just a story set to music.  The narrator, Yadu, took my breath away as he led us into the world of “The Tortoise and the Hare.”  


The hare, with his million dollar legs, laughs off the idea that “Slow and steady wins the race,” saying that concept went out years ago.  He bounds through the story accompanied by his own giddy music while the slow, steady tortoise (the contrabassoon) plods on and on.  While the hare is enjoying French onion soup and red wine and then the inevitable nap, the tortoise trudges steadfastly on, counting each step, “One.  Two. Three. Four.”  He’s such a lovable character and really deserves to win the marathon.  Littlest Miss was excited for him and so gleeful when he finally did win!


When the race is over, Bonnie Ward Simon, who wrote the story, talks about Aesop’s fables.  Then the Pretzel Vendor of Paris (who sets up shop at the marathon) gets to sing his song again.  Finally Stephen Simon, the composer and conductor, explains the music he wrote for this CD.  After all this background information, the story is replayed so listeners can recognize all the things they just learned.  We understood and noticed a lot more about the music after Maestro Simon’s explanation.  Finally, the music to “The Pretzel Vendor of Paris’ is played again so listeners can sing it on their own, using the words in the accompanying booklet.  The tune is quite complicated, and we couldn’t sing along easily…an opportunity for learning, I guess.



The award-winning Stories in MusicTM Series, of which this CD is the latest, has three goals

  • to expand musical horizons,
  • to develop listening skills
  • to encourage parents and children to listen to music together


With this CD, I think they accomplish these aims, and more.  They expose children to the kind of music that stimulates brain development, teach them about orchestras and music in a tiny accompanying booklet, and introduce them to fables as well.


I wouldn’t consider “The Tortoise and the Hare” a relaxing CD, as it mixes too many music styles; it is really meant to be listened to rather than used as background music.  That, I suppose, is consistent with the purpose of the series.  Some of my children really enjoyed the CD; others didn’t like the informative sections, but wanted only the story and music.  Go figure!


The Tortoise and the Hare is normally available for $16.98 US.  For a triple treat you can buy three CD’s of the Stories in MusicTM Series (8 titles are available)for $45 US.   


For more parents’ reviews of “The Tortoise and the Hare,” please visit the Homeschool Crew blog.



Disclosure Policy:   As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I received The Tortoise and the Hare CD. 

One Comment

  1. jenn4him says:

    Sounds like it might be fun for a road trip. I will look into this. Thanks.


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