The Music of Life
The Music of Life
Bookroo4.6 / 7Goodreads3.6 / 5
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The Music of Life

Written and illustrated by Louis Thomas
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Prices as of Oct 22

What Does Bookroo Think of This Book

A lovely reminder to find inspiration in the seemingly mundane and insignificant.

Lenny is a music composer living in the heart of Paris. One night, he sits down to begin a symphony but remains stumped for hour after hour until, noticing the sound of his cat Pipo lapping milk from a bowl, he is inspired to search for the symphony around him. Repeating the phrase “It’s not a symphony, but it feels like music,” Lenny draws inspiration first from the sounds inside his apartment (like a leaking sink), then from the sounds of the the great outdoors, both man-made and natural (like a jogger running, squirrels cracking nuts, and the squeaky wheels of a trolley), until he exclaims, “Now this feels like a symphony!” Created in ink and watercolor and featuring iconic Parisian elements and architecture, the illustrations’ blend of reality and style mirror the book’s message about finding and creating art from everyday moments in a blend of color and experience. Thomas’s depiction of Lenny’s facial expressions is skillfully nuanced, particularly in showing the familiar look of an artist straining to capture a fleeting, inspiring moment. Pulling together the scattered notes hastily scrawled by Lenny to capture each sound that inspires him, the story culminates in a full page of sheet music—composed by Thomas’s Aunt Anne—that gives readers a sense of the true magnitude of what Lenny has accomplished.

What Kind of Book is The Music of Life




What Questions Should I Ask My Child

  • Lenny is inspired by the sounds all around him. Take a minute and listen to what sounds you can hear right now that you may not have noticed before. Do they sound like music?
  • The story never specifically says where it is set, but it is certainly set in a particular city. Read the book again, and look for clues as to what city Lenny lives in. Can you discover what it is?
  • At the very front of the book, there is a little note from the author that says: "The author thanks his aunt Anne Thomas who wrote the sheet music for Lenny's symphony. And Leonard Bernstein, who never ceased to inspire him." Do you know who Leonard Bernstein is? With an adult's help, find some of his music and listen to it.


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What is Lenny's cat's name?
  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
    Lenny Jr.
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Book Details

Publication Date
February 18, 2020
Page Count
Reading Age
3 - 6 years

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Core Score - 44%

Still needs the basics.

Depth Score - 31%

Just the barebones.

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