MIKE MULLIGAN AND HIS STEAM SHOVEL

Virginia Lee Burton, Author, Virginia Lee Burton, Illustrator, Stephen Simon, Conductor , adapted by Stephen Simon, narrated by Yadu. Simon & Simon $16.98 (0p) ISBN 978-1-932684-00-1

Burton's much-loved tale about Mike Mulligan and the hardworking steam shovel is recast as a symphony program for kids, with an original classical score. Simon conducts strings, woodwinds and percussion to emphasize key moments in the story and adds some unusual elements as well. Paul Brennan plays the Uilleann pipes (Irish bagpipes) for Mike Mulligan's theme. Paying homage to Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf , a note in the CD booklet and narrated by Simon describes the other musical themes and various sound effects, such as the sound of the steam shovel (created by the release valve on a scuba tank). On a lively, informative second track, executive producer Bonnie Ward Simon tells listeners about Burton and her inspiration for the story. Yadu's forceful and melodic voice is a good match for the music, but his delivery is sometimes affected and flamboyant, a performance better suited for the stage than for audio. As a bonus, opera singer James Shaffran delivers a jaunty rendition of "Mike Mulligan Song." This diverting musical excursion will be welcomed in both classrooms and family libraries. Ages 5-up. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 09/13/2004
Release date: 08/01/2007
Genre: Audio
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