"The Musical Life Of Gustav Mole" is an incredibly sweet picture story book by Kathryn Meyrick which follows the life of Gustav Mole (which I tend to pronounce with a bit of an accent on the "e" to make the connection to another well-known musician called Gustav a bit clearer) as he grows and makes music.
It can be a great introduction to instruments of the orchestra with younger students and also paves the way for a discussion about different career paths open to a musician (orchestral performer, composer, conductor etc.)
I also love tying this into my composer case studies on Gustav Mahler - whose music is not always super accessible to primary-aged students - as a nice introduction to the composer as a person, before delving into his music.
And, of course, my favourite part - there's a puppet! These wonderful book/CD/puppet kits can be purchased from a number of sources online (I got mine from the wonderful Music Works Magic) and so Gustav Mole was able to become a mascot any time we were discussing composition and students knew whenever they could see him sitting on my desk that they would be creating their own music at some point today. I really like forming associations with purposeful puppets like this, as it can help some of my students to form a more long-term memory of a certain type of activity or to connect different lesson segments together over time. Some of my students also benefit from knowing in advance what they can expect from a lesson, so by seeing Gustav Mole sitting on my desk, they know there will be an element of composition.
This story book and puppet also lend themselves well to remote teaching units if you currently find yourself teaching from home.
What other book & puppet combos do you love? Drop us a line and let us know!