HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Bremen Town Musicians
Author and Illustrator: Brian Wildsmith
Publisher: Star Bright Books, republished in 2012
ISBN-13: 978-1-59572-345-1 (Hardback)
ISBN-10: 1595723455 (Hardback)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59572-346-8 (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1595723463 (Paperback)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 4 and up
Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Wildsmith, Brian. The Bremen Town Musicians (originally published as The Bremen Town Band in 1999 by Oxford University Press; newly designed in a larger format and republished in 2012 by Star Bright Books, 13 Landsdowne St., Cambridge, MA 02139). If you were a donkey which had grown old, couldn’t work any more, was being sold, and decided to run away, where would you go and what would you do? The particular donkey in this story still has a fine braying voice, so he sets off for the famous city of Bremen to sing with the town band. Along the way, he meets a dog, a cat, and a rooster who are in the same situation as he, so he invites them along. They can hee-haw, howl, meow, and crow together in the band. But when they need a place to spend the night and something to eat, what will they do? And will they ever make it to Bremen?
This well-known Brothers Grimm fairy tale is here retold and illustrated by Brian Wildsmith, who was raised in a small mining village in northern England where, he says, “Everything was gray. There wasn’t any color. It was all up to my imagination. I had to draw in my head.” Since then, he has illustrated more than 200 picture books, many of which he wrote himself. In 1962 his ABC was awarded the Kate Greenaway Medal, Britain’s equivalent to the Caldecott Medal, and in 1971 The Owl and the Woodpecker was a runner up. The Brian Wildsmith Museum was established in 1994 at Izukogen, south of Tokyo, Japan. The Bremen Town Musicians is a book in which children will love both the humorous story and the luscious, eye-catching pictures.