TMW Book Reviews

Music at the Watering Hole


Michele Wallace Campanelli

Far, far away in a land called Africa, lived many different animals. The animals rarely got along, especially during the heat. As they gather around the watering hole, they each take their turns as they cool down with some of the refreshing water.

Every week, a tour bus would travel to the savannah, where countless visitors from the nearest village would watch and take pictures of the colorful animals.

One day, three friends—a tortoise, a giraffe, and an elephant went to the savannah as the tourists came. Jango, the friendly giant tortoise, welcomed the visitors with open arms as they took pictures from their bus.

Soon after, the tour bus departed, leaving a large box behind, which fell from the top of the vehicle and broke into two pieces.

As the bus leaves, the three friends notice various musical instruments inside the box. From violins to tubas and even drums, they soon realized that the tourists left some instruments meant for a symphony orchestra!

Soon, all the other animals began to gather and take notice of the instruments. Not long after, King Kojo, the land’s lion ruler, decided to assign specific instruments to each animal with himself as the conductor.

However, before all the animals could play, the king decided to lay down some rules first. One important rule is that no animals harm or hunt another while playing.

After the animals finished playing a song, they soon realized that music brings them together—no matter if they’re predators or prey.

Michele Wallace Campanelli creates a heartwarming tale on the power of music through her colorful children’s book, “Music at the Watering Hole.” As readers learn the moral lesson of the beauty of music, the author also does an incredible job of introducing various symphony orchestra instruments to children, making it enjoyable and educational.

The illustrations are also beautiful, and Nina Marie Rothfuss does a fantastic job of making each animal unique while fitting it perfectly with the narrative. Additionally, the narrator, Ali Womack, does a charming job of narrating the book as she effortlessly switches voices for the different animals.

In a nutshell, “Music at the Watering Hole” is a definite must for schools and homes if you want to teach children the beauty of music and all the different instruments. The book is just an enjoyable read with such colorful illustrations and fun characters!

– The Moving Words Review

Official Entry: The Most Moving Book Award, Jan. 3, 2024