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Tiny Owl Music & Storytelling campaign continues

Music is one of most emotional and enduring forms of storytelling; early cultures often share their stories through music. With the launch of our brand new series called Children. Music. Life, of which the first book of the series, The Drum, is coming out soon, we have started a campaign to explore the relationship between children, music and stories. You can keep up to date by searching for #TinyOwlDrum and #ChildrenMusicLife.

We contacted experts in all kinds of areas such as parents, illustrators, teachers, and librarians, and asked them:

What do you think about the role of music in children’s lives and its relationship to stories? 
What song do you remember from your childhood?

Here are two more responses, from Petr Horacek and Frances Tosdevin.

  • Find previous responses to our questions here and here
A beautiful illustration by Petr Horacek

Petr Horacek:

Stories have been told through music for centuries


Lovely idea. I was just talking to my wife about who is a musician about making books about music.

Stories have been told through music for centuries. Good music can touch our feelings in the same way as a good story can. Encouraging children to have a relationship with music is so important.

I was born and grew up in Czechoslovakia, so my favourite song from my childhood would be ‘Černe oči jdēte spát’ (Go to sleep black eyes).


Petr Horacek is an illustrator and author of children’s books who lives in UK.


Frances Tosdevin:
A perfect counter-balance to stories
Frances Tosdevin

Children are hard-wired to engage with both music and stories – so it is not surprising that putting these two things together is such a good idea! Parents know all too well how much children love singing songs (over and over!) and if they also have a story book to go with the song, then that is even better! The song reinforces the story, and as a perfect counter-balance, the story reinforces the song. I also think that music helps set memory, too—  I have seen elderly people with severe dementia, literally coming to life when music from their childhood is played, able to recall all the words of songs they knew many tens of decades ago when they were little. Maybe music is to human beings what  water is to a plant—  restorative, nurturing and a force for life…


As a child I remember the songs my mother used to sing me, as well as those we sang in school. I especially enjoyed the “Singing Together” sessions that took place in the school library, where we all gathered round the radio (yes, I did actually say “radio”!) and then joined in with great gusto. One song I  really enjoyed in these class sessions was “Kookaburra”—   it was sung in a round, so we all had to keep to our correct parts, making it much more fun! It had a lovely rousing rhythm and was a very liveIy song … I can still remember the words and of course, the tune:
“Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree-ee
Merry, merry king of the bush is he-ee.
Laugh, Kookaburra, Laugh, Kookaburra
Gay your life must be.”
(I should add that in those days, “gay” simply meant “cheerful”, a meaning now somewhat lost.)
So well done to Tiny Owl for reinforcing the amazing connection between music, children and stories in this new and exciting campaign! You can count me in… three, two, one… SING!
Frances Tosdevin is a picture book writer. 

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