“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Big Bell and The Little Bell • Picture book with audio CD

The Big Bell and The Little Bell
by Martin Kalmanoff • illustrated by Alastair Graham
November 2008 • Boxer Books (US sales/distribution via Sterling Publishing) • Picture book with audio CD
Read and sing along with the classic song!
Story: The classic 1950s song ‘The Big Bell and the Little Bell’ is brought to life in pictures, words and music and tells the tale of a King who has to decide which bell—large or small, loud or soft—he wants to ring out on his wedding day. The big bell makes a mighty “bong!” while the little bell just makes a tiny “bing!” In this beautifully illustrated picture book, kids will discover that big isn't always better -- sometimes the little one wins the day! Complete with audio CD for a full visual and auditory experience.
Story behind the story: Martin Kalmanoff wrote many hit songs, some performed by Dean Martin and Elvis Presley, and his “The Big Bell and the Little Bell”— became a family favorite when it was first released in 1954. Boxer Books created the CD to include both Julius La Rosa singing the original 1950s track, and a spectacular new recording by the London Crouch End Festival Chorus.

FYI: all the review copies for this title have been sent; please click on the "comments" link below to read what your colleagues have to say.


wordwarrior said...

The Big Bell and The Little Bell

by Martin Kalmanoff • illustrated by Alastair Graham

I just received my copy of The Big Bell and the Little Bell by Martin Kalmanoff today. The basic story line a little kitten asks for a favorite bedtime story about a King who must make a choice about which bell to use on his wedding day. The king remembers two bells being rang on his coronation a big loud one and a tiny quiet one. The big bell gave him a headache so he chose the small quieter one. The illustrations are all cats in the story within a story and the artist includes a picture of the book cover in the mother cats hands when she reads it to her kitten. The writing of the story is just average. the first page shows promise with use of beautiful picture inspiring language, but then it stops and no longer impresses the reader. The illustrations are very well done and entertaining. The story teaches a moral that just because someone is bigger and louder and draws more immediate attention, doesn't mean they will always be chosen. Sometimes the meek and mild person is noticed too. This book would not be a first choice for me however, the music cd accompanying it is a nice touch. I would rate it a 2 out of 5.

Mary said...

The Big Bell and the Little Bell, Music and lyrics by Martin Kalmanoff, illustrated by Alastair Graham.

The Big Bell and the Little Bell is a picture book of a song by Martin Kalmanoff. The book is accompanied by a CD with a vocal solo by Julius La Rosa, followed by an orchestral and choral version by the London Crouch End Festival Chorus.
The story is presented as a bedtime story read by Mama Cat to Kitten. Kitten has obviously heard the story a number of times. She sings a little bit of the song and begs Mama Cat to read the story again. The first part with Kitten and Mama Cat doesn’t really work. It seems as though it was added to pad the book. Even with the padding, the book is a scant twenty-three pages. The second part of the book is made up the song lyrics.
The illustrations are wonderful. Details abound that will keep children captivated as they read and reread this beautiful book. Alastair Graham, now a freelance illustrator, first worked in advertising and then in animation. His illustrations in The Big Bell and the Little Bell reflect his experience in animation. They are reminiscent of early Disney animation.
I plan to show this book to the music teacher at my school. I think she could build several fun lessons around the book and CD.
I rate this book a four. It will be fun to use with a class and also fun for kids at home.

Mary Kirk
Media Coordinator
Sherwood Forest Elemenatry School
Winston-Salem, NC

Anonymous said...

The Big Bell and The Little Bell, by Martin Kalmanoff, was cleverly written as a story about the story. It is a short story teaching that the biggest/loudest is not always the best and is filled with rich vocabulary. The illustrations are sure to keep those young and old entertained with charming and vivid colors. The cd, containing the original vocals of Julius La Rosa, which the story is based upon, is definitely a bonus! I rate this book a 4.

Julia Pitau
Media & Intervention Technician
Denair Charter Academy
Denair, CA

Ellen said...

The Big Bell and the Little Bell was not a familiar song for me, although I hold a music degree. I found the CD to be a nice cross-curricular tie-in. I could see the CD used in a music classroom. The illustrations seem to fit a time gone by, but I am sure kids would enjoy the cats. The typography of the big bell is fun and the message would definitely be important for younger children. I can see this being used with younger elementary children.
I would give the book a 4.

Vodka Mom said...

This would be great for kindergarten, right?

Debbie Patrick
Park Forest Elementary
1400 Circleville Road
State College, Pa 16803

I would LOVE to review this.

Deborah Sloan said...

Vodka Mom (Debbie): Yes, this one's just right for kindergarteners. Please send your request for the book (including your contact info on where to send it) directly to the publisher by clicking on the "Order your reviewer's copy now" link (which opens up the email message) or emailing cm@boxerbooks.com. Requests are filled on a first-come, first-served basis but they might have a few more left. Hope so!

ahslibrarian said...

Well done. It is time to ring the dinner bell and have a feast with The Big Bell and the Little Bell. Alistair Graham’s visual interpretation of the Martin Kalmanoff song is simple, yet complex. From cover to cover, Graham’s skills and imagination are showcased in the carefully crafted cats that bring the song to life.
As a matter of fact, the characters that propel the story surpass both bells in terms of personality. While the bells remain rather plain (and most bells are, right?) the king and his company are focused on his upcoming wedding.

Readers will enjoy the book even more thanks to the included CD that contains two well-produced versions of the song. After listening to the song one may find a different rhythm for reading the book, and that is just fine. It is musical, lyrical, and fun-filled. It should be shared aloud with a small or large group. Teachers should make this selection a part of their classroom libraries and listening centers. Rich activities lie beneath the surface of this book just waiting to address social skills and group dynamics. Public and school librarians should also give due consideration to acquiring and highlighting this timeless story.

5 of 5

John Parker
Media Coordinator
Andrews High School
50 HS Drive
Andrews, NC 28901

Susan Mello said...

The Big Bell and the Little Bell

I agree that the pictures are beautiful in this book. I have to disagree about the quality and usefulness of the story. It is just too preachy. We are told three times that "those who make the biggest noise aren't always as important". Honestly, it insulted my intelligence. I am trying hard to find an appropriate use for this book. Maybe (as some suggested) the music teacher could incorporate it into the curriculum. However, the best place for this book would be as a bedtime book for the very young. I would give it a 2 out of 5 simply for the pictures and music.

debnance said...

I’d never heard the song before, so it was a great surprise to open this book and get taken away by this little story. A small bell with a small sound is intimidated by a big bell with a great big sound. Surprisingly, the king takes a fancy to the small bell and asks he play at the king’s wedding; the king finds the big bell gives him a headache.

The illustrations are beautiful and fun. The story of the big bell and the little bell is told as a story-within-a-story, giving it immediacy and relevance for a child. The CD will be a big bonus for children.


Debbie Nance
Stevenson Primary School

Deb Morgan said...

The big bell and the little bell.
We happened to listen to cd that accompanied the book before sitting down to read it. The music was beautiful especially the second version with the choral group.
The story is being told by a mother cat to her kitten. I felt that these characters didn't add to the story and the space could have been used to develop the story of the bells furthur.
The illustrations were terrific but the story fell flat with our preschool group. Instead of telling a story that leads to a moral , This book jumped right into telling us what the moral was. Even though the book isn't a top choice for me for read alouds. I will still use it for illustrating the sounds of bells as instruments and community centerpieces. Overall I'd give it a 3.

Tasses said...

Please see my review by CLICKING HERE

Cheryl Tasses
Reading Specialist / Writer, Florida
Picnic Basket Score: 3

kokomana said...

The Big Bell and The Little Bell

By Martin Kalmanoff
Illustrated by Alastair Graham

While the illustrations are charming, the book itself is a bit twee. Presenting the moral of the story first dispels any build-up that could have taken place, and makes the denouement repetitive instead of providing a sense of finality. The action and dialogue are both choppy, but this is probably the product of being based on a song.

2 out of 5.

Monica Bildner
Assistant Librarian
St. Rita School
Dallas, TX

Kathy said...

I think this book will be a charming addition to my library's collection. The story is simple yet relays an important message: one does not have to be loud to still be noticed and useful. The highlight of this book is the illustrations. I thought each page was brilliantly done and the use of cats as the characters will appeal to young readers. The CD is a nice bonus that the book includes. I can visualize this book being used with kindergarten and first graders in either a music class or a lesson on character traits. I rate this book a 4 out of 5.

Kathy Farrington
Ridge Park Elementary School
Conshohocken, PA

Tina's Blog said...

What a cute little book. My two year old was even enjoying looking at the pictures of this story within a story. I like that there is a moral to this story as well - that the biggest/loudest is not always the best. I think this lesson is a good one for kids of many ages. I also enjoyed the CD that was included. While the tune is not familiar to me, our music teacher is planning to use it with her class.

Allison said...

The CD included with this book is wonderful, but the book is lacking a true storyline. Sandwiching the lyrics in between the slight bedtime tale is not enough to make this title worth a picnic.


Children's Librarian

A. Hunt said...

The Big Bell and the Little Bell is a sweet children's book about how the biggest and loudest do not always win out. To be honest, I found the storyline a tad condescending with its repetitive, "Those who make the biggest noise aren't always as important as they think." The audio CD is a nice addition and the song ia truly quite pleasant to have play in the background as you read the book. I can see where young readers might enjoy it, but overall it is not a picnic basket placeholder.

2 out of 5

A. Hunt
Language Arts Teacher
Fort Walton Beach, Florida

wisteria said...

The Big Bell and the Little Bell
Illustrated by Alastair Graham
Music & Lyrics by Martin Kalmanoff

An enchanting fantasy feline world is created in the story The Big Bell and the Little Bell.
The story within a story takes place at bedtime when Kitten is going to bed and wants to hear a story. Mama is holding a copy of this picture book behind her back as she tucks Kitten into bed. When she snuggles in next to Kitten she begins reading the story.
The story is about a big bully bell who thinks he is more important because of his size.

You will be impressed by the artistic talent of the illustrator as you open the pages to a magical kingdom with a kaleidoscope of color complete with castle, king, queen and their royal subjects. You can’t help but notice a “Disney-esque” quality, as he personifies each furry face. The surrounding scenery is intricately detailed and will engage every reader young and old. The accompanying CD with two versions of the music is a wonderful companion for the primary grades. Wonderful tale with a positive message for all. Recommend without Reservation (4)

Wisteria Leigh
Bookworm’s Dinner
Media Specialist

Sandra Stiles said...

I got my copy of the Big Bell and the Little Bell today. One of my ESOL students watched me take it out of the envelope and waited to see if I would let them look at it. When he got to the back of the book he discovered the cd. He went to the computers in the back and put it in. Suddenly the whole class was in the back around him. The funniest thing happened. I have a very, very loud student in class and everyone tells her to talk softer. One little boy looked at her and said, "see you don't have to talk loud". I lvoed the idea that it taught a simple lesson. The pictures were absolutely beautiful. I thought the beginning didn't fit as well with the rest of the story. However, the mama cat holding an exact copy of the book was a great touch. The music on the cd was gorgeous. I can't wait to share it with my granddaughter this weekend. I rate this book a 4.5

Susan Appleton said...

I just got this book today and sat down to read it. What a sweet little story! I love the fact that the two main characters are cats! The illustrations are colorful, detailed, and very beautiful. The moral of the story is that you don't have to be the loudest one to be the best; sometimes the quieter individual has a sweeter sound! You don't have to be big and showy and loud to make a contribution in the world! What a sweet lesson! The music CD that accompanies the book is just lovely! I have listened to it THREE times! I would definitely recommend this book to others and I think it is a wonderful addition to any home, school, or personal collection! I would rank it a 5! It has a sweet story, excellent drawings, and a good lesson. The only drawback is that the story ends abruptly.

wrappedinabook said...

Darling story! My students loved the wedding pictures and illustrations! The story brought about a few connections in my class. First they noticed the noise of the bells and had to tell of similar sounds they have heard and try to make the noise themselves. Then, they wanted to talk about sharing with the class their view on being the biggest noisemakers and how it sometimes gives them a headache when other kids are loud. Finally, the kids enjoyed the contrast in things that are big, and things that are small. Very nice story and illustrations. I will certainly share this story with other teachers!I give this story a four out of five!

Jacqueline Simmons, M.Ed said...

Greetings Everyone!

I received The Big Bell and the Little Bell by Martin Kalmanoff a few days ago. A 1st grade student really liked the book. The student enjoyed the story due to text and the differences in size between
the large bell and the small bell. The student's favorite page is located on page one. The student loved the castle drawing, the moon and the cows sleeping. The student also liked the moon's facial features on page two. Very stimulating, creating illustrating!The student enjoyed the mother kitten and child kitten. The child was touched by the Mother kitten and child kitten in bed together reading a story. The student told me that the Mother kitten and child kitten reminds him of when his mother reads to him at bedtime. The student loved the book as well as the CD! Julius La Rosa is great and this is a great addition to the book! The first grader remembered the story and song the The Big Bell and the Little Bell song with Mr. La Rosa and that was really cute! The CD also fosters learning and peeked the 1st graders interest in reading even more!

Rating: The first grader rate this book five stars and so do I! *****

amonc32 said...

Beautiful illustrations, reminds me of something Disney would create. Not familiar with the song, but the "story" was cute, would have liked to see the song expanded a bit, the story was kinda short and felt like it picked up after the beginning.

Dumpysunshine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dumpysunshine said...

I just received this book today. I read it to my 3 children, ages 2-7. They listened intently and enjoyed the illustrations. My husband and I felt like the illustrations were busy and the children had trouble focusing on any one thing. We also felt the story lacked content. We rate this book a 3. As a previous poster said, it might prove useful in a music class. It is also enjoyable as a fun activity, but I might find it difficult to use in a lesson plan during school.

Stacey D said...

This is a very good morality tale. The lesson is told in a way that students can learn without being told. The pictures really help tell the story. I love how when the big bell rings, the pictures are all shivering and shaking. The music is also great.
Rating 5

Tracy O'Brien said...

I was disappointed in this book. Clever packaging and lovely illustrations really did not salvage the weak story. It lacked creativity. The children with whom I read it kept asking why they couldn't find the bells in all the pictures.
I'd rate it at 2.

Tracy O'Brien
Achieva Educational Services
St. John's, NL, Canada

shelburns said...

I will have to admit that I have never heard the song that inspired this book. However, I did enjoy this story. I love books that have the book in the story. I also love the fact that this story shows a mama cat reading this same book to her kitten as a bedtime story. Reading to kids is so important, and this book reinforces that. Mama Kitten is having to reread a favorite book; what parent hasn't done that? This book has a great message too and it is repeated in the story, so I feel like children will get the underlying moral: "Those who make the biggest noise aren't always as important as they think." What a great message for children! If I was using this in the classroom, I might ask the students to write a reader's response to this book focusing on what that sentence means to them. Alistair Graham has given new life to this musical storybook with his illustrations. The cats just seem to jump off the page at you. They are so cute! Even the bells have faces; the big bell looking authoritarian and the little bell looking scared to death. Which one will the king choose to play at his wedding? You might be surprised when you read it! I recommend this one to teachers and parents. I am giving it a rating of 4 - recommend without reservation.

rauzer said...

I had never heard of the story until I received my preview copy. It has a good lesson for little kids. My two boys at home loved the story and CD. The pictures are great. The Julius La Rosa version is the better of the two songs on the CD. My class is struggling with pointing out faults right now so I can use this to let them see that everyone has something to contribute. I am not really sure how the cat kingdom makes the story better. I give it 3 stars out of 5.

se7en said...

This one just didn't fly. My kids enjoyed romping to the second song on the CD, my kids loved looking at the cats wedding and the little cat reading the same book as they were was very appealing. They felt sorry for the big bell as the little bell looked so smug - any parent should pick up the common story of the youngest kid outshining the eldest... or the smallest bell out-tinging the big bell. Whatever moral the story kept trying to tell us, they didn't demonstrate it by example! And repeating something over and over again doesn't make it true.

For myself the story was weak, dull and I really don't need to read it again (and hopefully won't be asked to). The illustrations far outshone the story, yet they didn't really fit the story... I felt the illustrations were of cats so they quickly fitted the story and said that the mama's child was called "kitten". Otherwise the story had nothing to do with cats. There was a king and a couple of characters but cats? There wasn't a king cat!

Since it has to have a ranking I would give it a one, but I would definitely forget the basket behind for that picnic.

Mila said...

The Big Bell and the Little Bell is a good picture book. The basic storyline is the re-telling of a bedtime story. The bedtime story itself is presented within the accompanying CD. The moral of the bedtime story itself is great and it would be a great bedtime story for parent to read to their kids (smaller ones) or teachers to read to their students (K-1). The illustrations by Graham are charming. I think kids are going to have fun finding the bells on the 2 panel pages (I still can't find the bell on the king's wedding pages). The only off thing about the book is the simplicity of the story that sandwiched the bedtime story. I think it would've been better flow to have just about the bedtime story, without the intro or ending.
Picnic-ability rating: 3

Library Assistant

jwelch said...

The Big Bell and the Little Bell, written by Martin Kalmanoff and illustrated by Alastair Graham was more impressive with the musical CD than without. The illustrations are complex in that there is something new to notice with each read. I was not impressed with the story line. I could not see using this in a classroom setting.
Rating: 2

the RBES teach said...

The Big Bell and the Little Bell

I am a first grade teacher and am reviewing the book from my early readers' perspective. Most of my children were not interested. The reason for the King choosing the
little bell versus the big bell didn't seem compelling to them. Two asked why the king chose the little bell - the headache and marriage seemed to elude my tiny readers. The vocabulary was appropriate for early readers. The illustrations were beautiful. (Although why the characters are cats was elusive to me. The children did not comment.)
I'm not sure the children understood on their own the idea that the loudest doesn't mean the most important. We discussed it but as children they already understand that the loudest is the one not following directions. I wonder if they thought the moral of the story was too obvious. CD was fine. The children preferred the first version of the song; they played that one the most; but overall enjoyed reading the
book on their own the most. Perhaps being unfamiliar with the poem/story had a negative effect. Is this poem/story popular in Europe? Overall rating of 2 for illustrations.

Loren Kessler, Kindergarten, Roosevelt Elementary said...

My Kindergarten students enjoyed listening to me read the story and the CD. Truly, I don’t think they understood the language at the beginning of the story. It was a little difficult for them to comprehend. After reading the story we had a class discussion about feelings. The book lends itself to that. Overall, I would give this story a 4. I wouldn’t use the book for comprehension, but for building awareness of feelings. Perfect to use for class meetings.
Loren Kessler
Roosevelt Elementary

vsp said...

The little morality lesson about how loudest and biggest are not always best is presented here with colorful illustrations and a catchy tune. But I worry that this may have limited appeal. The king and his court are depicted as cats in the book's pictures. However, the kitten's bedtime story which brackets the telling of the tale doesn't seem to really mesh with the rest of the story. I think preschoolers and kindergartners will enjoy the song, but not sure there is enough substance in the text to keep them engaged. Too bad, for this is a fine effort and the song is charming. Picnic Basket Rating: 3 out of 5

Anonymous said...

The book "The Big Bell and The Little Bell" came to our Second Grade class today. The moral presented by the story is that just because someone is loud and demands attention does not mean that they necessarily deserve the most respect or that they are more important. We enjoyed the moral presented by the story and greatly enjoyed the audio recording that accompanied the book. The class enjoyed the illustrations of the cats, but I found most of the pages cluttered including the book cover page. I also found the transitions in the story choppy and the language lacking the poetic nature of the song sung by Julius La Rosa. I love the idea of integrating music and literature, but in this case the music completely outshined the book. I rate "The Big Bell and The Little Bell" a 2 out of 5.

Jen Sherman
Second Grade Teacher
Vitalistic Therapeutic Charter School of the Lehigh Valley
Bethlehem, PA

PLLoggerR said...

The Big Bell and the Little Bell attempts to make a story of a song that was popular in the 50's. The song itself is simple and something to enjoy, in two different versions, with the included CD. Unfortunately, the song isn't enough to make a story, so the author created a brief introduction: Mama cat taking Kitten to bed to read a story which just happens to be the song (and the book!). But there isn't really enough to make a story -- no build up, no climax. On the other hand, I really enjoyed to illustrations, they called out for a second look.

I give this book a 2.5--a brief story to close out the day, teach a moral lesson, or to listen to the CD, but not one to read very often.

Colleen G. said...

The Big Bell and the Little Bell by Martin Kalmanoff

Beautiful imagery and bright adjectives describe the picturesque town of this little story. This cozy setting held so much promise for me in the beginning. However, the book changes format and leads to a Mama Cat and her kitten reading a story about a big bell that goes “BONG” and the little bell which goes “BING”...the big bell thinking its mighty sound is greater. It ends a bit abruptly with a king who gets a headache from the sound of the big bell and prefers the small “bing” of the little bell. While the idea for the story is wonderful, it’s just not developed enough for my taste. However, as a teacher, this book would work very well as a supplement to teaching children about imagery, personification, onomatopoeia, and character. The delightful illustrations were reminiscent of an old Aristocats movie, but in the age of Pixar, they fell short of my expectations. I would rate this book a 2. I would not rave about it, but it will hold a place on my classroom shelf for just the right occasion.

5th Grade Teacher
Hercules, CA

CorieAnn Scarbrough said...

The Big Bell and the Little Bell, written by Martin Kalmanoff and illustrated by Alastair Graham.

This was a cute story about the difference between two bells. One is a big bell that makes a large gong sound. The second bell is little and only makes a small bing sound. The overall idea of the story is that you don't have to be big and great to make an impact on others.

I used this story in a variety of ways. First, I had students compare and contrast the difference between the two bells using a venn diagram.

Secondly, I had students go on an antonym hunt throughout the story.

Lastly, I used this story to teach character education and self esteem. The story was able to emphasize that while we are all different, we all are special and can contribute something in our own way.

This story was a quick read and there wasn't too much to it. The musical CD is an added bonus.
I would give this book a 3 out of a 5 rating.

Mrs. Kondrick said...

This book is a picnic basket feast on many levels ( a definite 5) I will begin with the illustrations Alistair Graham’s detailed drawing accentuate the story beautifully. My students noticed how the cloths and the spears on page 11 cringed with the clammer of the big bell. The detailed skyline and the eloquent framing during the “bedtime story” scene is magnificent.
My 7th and 8th graders write reading responses each class. Books with a moral or advice always prompt in-depth writing. This book is a keeper. We had no problem being inspired by this story. The rhythm and rhyme of the book made it an easy read aloud. I had never heard this song before, so the story was new to me. The CD was a great addition. The chorus and Julius LaRosa sounded beautiful.
Thanks for this addition to my “books to read aloud for responses” collection.

Anonymous said...

The Big Bell and the Little Bell

by Martin Kalmanoff - illustrated by Alastair Graham

The illustrations are beautiful. The story incorporates many descriptive words and provides readers with a moral, "Those who make the biggest noise aren't always as important as they think!" The CD is a great added bonus too. I think there are several ways this book can be used in the classroom. I give this book a 4 out of 5.

Joanna Pourciau
Hopkins Elementary
New Iberia, LA

Anonymous said...

The Big Bell and The Little Bell is ideal for kindergarten but can also be used for character education with the elementary grades. The cd is an excellent touch; it definitely makes the book! I give this a 4 out of a 5.
B. Davison
Media Specialist

JK Huck said...

The Big Bell and the Little Bell by Martin Kalmanoff is a sweet story for any child feeling left out because he/she is too small. I especially enjoyed the CD with it's rich orchestra arrangement. I would recommend this book for children 3-6 years old. I will use this book and CD in my Kindergarten classroom. I rate the set 4 out of 5.

K. Evans said...

The Big Bell and the Little Bell by Alastair Graham is a story written about a song. The book is a beautifully illustrated hard cover addition with the musical cd included. I was very excited when it arrived, but am sorry to say that the story itself does not live up to the beauty of the book. The story was short and lack lustre. It lacked any plot or excitement. In many ways the story does not even make sense with no clear beginning, middle and end. I read it to my grade 1 class and when I was finished they just looked at me wondering if it was over. The audio cd went over better and they enjoyed listening to the song.I would not order this book for my school or classroom. I give it a 1 out of 5.

The Black Family said...

The Big Bell and the Little Bell was a disappointment. I couldn't see a reason for the cats being the main characters, and though the moral of the story is important, the actual song is so short. There is no beginning, middle, end. It feels very abrupt. The illustrations are too busy and like I said, the cats are odd. I wouldn't read this one to any of my students, even Kindergarten, as they would be bored. I give it a 2 out of 5, just because the moral is important.

Title I Teacher

Sandra Hartman said...

When I received this book, I thought the illustrations were beautiful and the text trite. I did, however, appreciate the beauty of the music that went with it. Then I read it to my first and second grade classes (including Spanish/English bilingual)for storytime and played the music, and they loved it. They loved the idea of cats dressed as people, they loved the intricacy of the detailed illustrations, they loved the song, and they related to the theme of the little bell being bullied by the big bell, but being appreciated for his own special qualities in the end. We had just been studying about folk tales and fairy tales, and we discussed whether or not this book qualified as a fairy tale. Many asked if they could check it out immediately. Several others were humming the melody of the song as they went to check out books from the library shelves. So, I give this book a 4, based on the response it got from my first and second graders.

Sandra Hartman
Wedgeworth Elementary School Library
Waxahachie, Texas

Nicole Mass said...

I read the book The Big and Little Bell. I thought the cats in the story were cute. I did think the idea of the story was a good one. I think it is important for children to understand that the little guy can win. But I thought the book was so so. It didn't have too much depth to it. I think it could have led to a more interestenig story. I give the book a 2 out of 5 because of the basic text and so so illustrations.
Nicole Mass
First Grade Teacher
Ringwood Primary Center
Ringwood IL

Anonymous said...

I received my review copy of The Big Bell and the Little Bell and it is recommended by me to my dsitrict's music department. I also plan to share with primary teachers. I especially, enjoyed the CD that allows the auditory learner to enjoy. Nice touch authentically.

I rate this a 4. It will be shared and enjoyed.

Caren Pence
Instructional Teacher Coach
Warren County School District
Warren, PA

sheila said...

I teach a class of students with significant cognitive impairment. They listened to the story, but were unable to get the message. I let our elementary librarian use the book. She said the students enjoyed the book, but students younger than second grade really didn't get the point. The pictures are good and the story holds the interest of the children. I give it 4 points.

Sheila Knox
Tanner High School
Tanner, AL

sheila said...

I teach a class of students with significant cognitive impairment. They listened to the story, but were unable to get the message. I let our elementary librarian use the book. She said the students enjoyed the book, but students younger than second grade really didn't get the point. The pictures are good and the story holds the interest of the children. I give it 4 points.
Tanner, AL

webervyn said...

I did not have high hopes for this book when I judged it by it's cover and even as I was reading it, but when I got to the end of the book, one of the very last pages it talks about how the ones with the loudest voices are not always as important as they think and it changed my opinion completely. What a great hidden moral. I brought it to school to share with all of the teachers in my building. Kindergarten teacher loved it as did the 3rd grade teacher. I have not listened to the CD of music that the book was based on, but the kindergarten teacher said it was wonderful.

Stephanie Vyn
5th Grade
grand rapids, MI