By Karla Kuskin
Illustrated by Marc Simont
Karka Kuskin (1932-2009) was a prolific author and illustrator for children. Her prose in this book is flawless. In this unique book, she perfectly describes the events and preparations that lead up to the performance of the orchestral concert.
Marc Simont is both a Caldecott Honor recipient (The Happy Day, 1950) and a Caldecott Medal Winner (A Tree is Nice, 1957). He also illustrated most of the books in the Nate the Great series. His art is glorious, expressive and lively. Combining saturated watercolors with delicate pencil outlines, the scenes and characters are simple and exuberant.
The Philharmonic Gets Dressed follows one hundred and four musicians, and one conductor, as they prepare for their Friday night performance. There are ninety-two men and thirteen women. Though they all dress in black and white, there are many possible combinations.
Before they begin dressing, they all wash. Some take showers and others take baths. One reads in the bathtub while another sits in the bubbles and sings.
All of the men—except the three with beards—shave. Some of the men wear boxer shorts, others put on briefs, and those that wear undershirts may choose one with sleeves or one without. Some tie their own bowtie, other men clip on a ready-made bow. The man who puts on a very big white bow tie also wears a tuxedo jacket with tails!
The women choose between stockings and pantyhose. One woman whose feet are always cold pulls on thick wool socks. Eight wear skirts with black tops, four wear dresses and one wears a jumper. A few of the women wear jewelry, though never bracelets. “Bracelets would get in the way when they’re working.”
Once they’re all dressed in black and white, they don their outerwear and say goodbye to their families. Those who bring their instruments carry them in cases; the conductor carries a briefcase. There’s a variety of modes of transportation to get to the theater: cabs, subways, buses and cars.
After one hundred and four performers and one conductor take the stage, the audience applauds and the hall fills with beautiful music. The performance is underway.
If your little one is more interested in sports than music, then check out The Dallas Titans Get Ready for Bed.