#PPBF: Vivaldi and the Invisible Orchestra – Music for Children

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday. For more great picture book reviews, hop over to Susanna Leonard Hill and a list of over 1000 reviews and activities on her blog.

The story I chose was inspired by a video I saw.


Don’t you wonder why music education is the first to go when school budgets are cut? The beauty of the video is as much in seeing the reactions of the children as it is to listening to the wonderful music.

And, after you read this picture book to your kids, perhaps they will be inspired as well.


Vivaldi and the Invisible Orchestra

Written and illustrated by Stephen Costanza

Publisher: Henry Holt (2012)

Ages: 4 and up


Music, cooperation, appreciating our talents, helping others

Opening Lines:

“In Venice of long ago, there lived a man who daydreamed in music.”


From Amazon: “Every day, Antonio Vivaldi composes a new orchestral piece, and every day, the orphan Candida transcribes Vivaldi’s masterpiece into sheet music for the Invisible Orchestra. Nobody notices Candida or appreciates her hard work.

But one day Candida accidentally slips a poem she wrote into the sheet music and the girl so often behind the shadows gets recognized for her own talents. Vivaldi really did have an Invisible Orchestra made up of orphan girls he taught to play. This beautiful book pays tribute to their inspiration.


Why  I like this book:

  • Great read-aloud
  • Wonderful message about feeling appreciated
  • Beautiful watercolor illustrations
  • This author/illustrator also wrote Mozart Finds a Melody
  • Great introduction to the importance of music for children

How a parent can use this book:

  • Lovely read-aloud
  • Talk about how we can let others know that we appreciate what they do
  • Listen and move to classical music – attend a symphony or check out local library and college performances and take your child – you may awaken a desire in your child to learn more
  • Ask your child what his talents are…many children are never given an opportunity to discuss their hopes and dreams and aspirations


Related Activities


Photo courtesy: http://www.tinytappingtoes.com/classroom-music/make-your-own-puili-hawaiian-rhythm-sticks/

Please visit the above link for detailed instructions and more!

For monthly music activities for kids, please check out Daria at Making Multicultural Music: http://www.dariamusic.com/monthly_song.php

book pic from wordpress blog

Find instructions for making simple instruments and many other craft activities in my book on Amazon!

I also wanted to mention a couple of upcoming challenges for writers that are very exciting…I know there are others…but these are the ones I will be participating in:

  1. Susanna Leonard Hill’s March Madness Writing Contest: Deadline is March 24…if you’ve always toyed with the idea of writing a fractured fairy tale, here is your opportunity…top prize is to have a manuscript read by Karen Grencik of Red Fox Literary! http://susannahill.blogspot.com/2014/02/perfect-picture-book-friday-girl-who.html
  2. RhyPiBoMo: April 30 to May 3…if you already write in rhyme or ever thought you might take a stab at it, this is an event you won’t want to miss! http://angiekarcher.wordpress.com/rhypibomo-countdown/
  3. SCBWI Work-in-Progress Grants: If you are a member of SCBWI (you are, aren’t you?) you could win a pile of money for a great work-in-progress! http://www.scbwi.org/awards/grants/work-in-progress-grants/
  4. NaPiBoWriWee: Want an intense picture book writing experience? Sign up for Paula Yoo’s National Picture Book Writing Week, May 1-7…This will be my first time! http://paulayoo.com/napi/

I know there are a lot of other challenges coming up…if I missed a great one, why not share it in the comments?

About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever - Mom of 3, educator, author of FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (PomegranateKids, March 15, 2019), PIPPA'S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, Feb 13, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, May 1, 2019); MAKING THEIR VOICES HEARD: THE INSPIRING FRIENDSHIP OF ELLA FITZGERALD AND MARILYN MONROE (Little Bee Books, Spring 2020); FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY THE WORLD MOVES (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Fall 2020) picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, fly-fishing, cooking, and playing Monopoly with my young grandson.

Posted on March 6, 2014, in March Writing Madness, NaPiBoWriWee, Perfect Picture Book Friday, Picture Book Writing Resources, RhyPiBoMo and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. Great pick! 😀 I have to look this up. I have the 4 seasons on my ipod and enjoy the music very much! 🙂


  2. Lovely pick! Music is such a joy for children of all ages.


  3. I love this book and will order it! These are important stories for kids to read.

    Here’s another child prodigy, Alma Deutcher, who composes opera.



  4. Wonderful post, Vivian. I watched, listened to, savored and applauded the video…twice. Such a delightful affirmation of music and life.


  5. Your post makes me realize there are few picture books about classical music. It must be hard though, since music is auditory. You really miss out if you just read the words.


  6. What a lovely story! And those Rhythm sticks are the best ever! Music is big in Glen Rose. It seems that every kid wants to be in band. The elementary schools here have some great music teachers who do fantastic programs. And there is a family in town who funds an orchestra performance from the Ft Worth City Orchestra. It comes to town every year to do some performances for all the school kids.


  7. Wonderful, thank you so much for doing a music book! I’ve always loved the fact that Vivaldi’s job was a teacher at a girls’ school, and he wrote for them. His music is so alive.


  8. I like your link to the rhythm sticks, very clever. This looks like a book we’ll have to add to our collection. You might enjoy The Story of the Orchestra, by Roberts Levine. We love the book and CD, though it isn’t a picture book. Thanks for your review.


    • I’m so happy you liked the rhythm sticks, Joanne. Daria’s blog, Making Multicultural Music, is a well-spring of amazing resources and info. I hope you check it out…she travels around the world, making music with children and gives away so much stuff on her blog…
      Thanks for the heads up about the Robert Levine book…I have seen it…it’s awesome!


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