Perfect Picture Book Friday – The Magic Flute

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday . It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because I like classical music and today is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s birthday!

The Magic Flute – An Opera by Mozart

Adapted by Kyra Teis

32 pages ages 5+

Published by Star Bright Books on April 30, 2008

Theme/Topic – Classical music / opera

Opening and Synopsis – This picture book is a re-telling of the Mozart opera “The Magic Flute”

“Once upon a time, on a day that seemed like any other, Prince Tamino was out hunting in the forest. It was such a lovely day that he didn’t hear a strange sound behind him – a sound that grew louder and louder.”

Prince Tamino is chased by a dragon while hunting in the woods and faints. The dragon is slayed by the servants of the evil Queen of the Night. The evil queen tricks Tamino into saving her daughter, Pamina from Sarastro. The queen tells Tamino he can marry the princess if he brings Pamina back to her.  The queen tells Tamino that Sarastro is really a horrible sorcerer that kidnapped Pamina when really Sarastro is protecting Pamina from the evil queen. Tamino learns the truth when he finds Pamina with the help of his friend Papageno, the goofy bird catcher. Tamino and Pamina fall in love and Sarastro says that they can get married if Tamino can pass three challenges. Tamino passes the tests with the help of Pamina and they get married. The evil queen was banished into eternal darkness and Papageno even passes a test of his own and lives happily ever after too!

Why I liked this book – Well first of all, I like classical music. Second of all I am a fan of Mozart (did you know he wrote the music to Twinkle Twinkle Little Star?). I have heard of the Magic Flute before but I never saw the opera or read the story. A lot of times operas are in other languages (even if it is in English it’s hard to understand sometimes) and it was cool to see the story in a book. After we read the book we went online and saw some clips of the actual opera and I could tell exactly what was going on! The story was written really well for young kids. It is a great fairy tale! The illustrations are made from paper cuttings and it makes them very unique and awesome to look at!

Activities and Resources – In the back of the book, Ms. Teis has a section called “Make your own Mozart Magic” that has activities like how to make your own stage show or do a creative writing project as one of the characters and suggests to do some research online and in the library about Mozart. There is also a link to her website ( where there are even more activities and information about opera and teaching kids about the Magic Flute! I also found the Seattle Operas website where you can see trailers for The Magic Flute and there are interviews about the opera. You can go there by clicking HERE. Of course you can always find cds or dvds of classical music and operas to let you kids listen to!

Check out some pictures of some of the scenes from The Magic Flute opera!

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog  HERE!

Categories: Age 6-9

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39 replies

  1. Great post, Erik! Wow! You like Mozart? I keep going between Bach and Mozart as my favorites. No. I didn’t know Mozart wrote the melody for “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”! Thanks. BTW, did you ever stop to wonder if “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” has the same melody as “The Alphabet Song”? Thanks again.

    • I do like Mozart and lots of classical music (I know it’s weird for a kid). I did notice that the same tune is used for a lot of songs. Baa Baa Black Sheep also has the same tune 😉 It’s cool how much classical music is in everyday life. Even in commericals!

  2. Eric, I have had the thrill of seeing the Magic Flute performed at the Opera House here in Nice… I am also under its’ charm, and love this picture book you have chosen!

  3. No way! I can’t believe it’s Mozart’s birthday, and we both chose musical books today! I just updated my post with this information and a link to your review, if you want to check it out. 🙂

    I also can’t believe that this book exists — an introduction to opera for kids? What an incredible resource, and I love that the author includes all those activities right in the book. I am so excited you found this, and I’m ordering it right away. I love Mozart and I love The Magic Flute — don’t tell anyone, but sometimes I (try to) sing the Queen of the Night’s aria when no one is around…:) Good stuff, Erik!

    • Wow! What a musical day in the PPBF world! I just stopped by Renee’s blog–and now this!

      What a fantastic selection Erik! This would be a great book for my oldest boy who is quite musical himself.

    • Erik, great choice of books on the Mozart’s birthday. I didn’t know a book that introduced kids to opera existed. This fabulous! I am a great fan of opera and have seen The Magic Flute. My husband’s uncle is a well-known composer and he has written nine operas, including the Crucible, which won a pulitzer. So music is very much a part of our family and I love to promote it to kids. Great book review!

      FYI, the Metropolitan Opera broadcast 12 live HD operas this year to movie theaters in the U.S. and worldwide. They are a wonderful way to introduce a child to opera and there are brief subtitles in English. What is exciting is that you get to see all of the action behind the scenes during intermissions, watch the interviews with the major performers as they come off stage, and visit the costume department, the artists and sit in the orchestra pit. If you are interested, you can check out this website to see the remaining operas performances this year and find out if a theater near you shows the live performances: I love attending the Saturday performances at 1 p.m.

      • That’s cool that you know an actual composer! I didn’t know that you could watch the operas at movie theaters. I looked at the link and there are some places by me! Thank you for telling me about this!

    • @ Renee LaTulippe – Great minds think alike 😉 My mom and I were making my stuffed animals sing the opera last night hee hee. Thank you for linking to my post!!

  4. The costumes in the Seattle Opera’s version are absolutely gorgeous! I love that The Magic Flute has been turned into a children’s book. When my oldest son was about 8 years old, The Magic Flute was on our local PBS station. He insisted that he didn’t want to watch it (I had put it on for myself), but slowly became engrossed in the costumes and music. He talked about it for quite some time afterward, I’ll have to tell him about this post!

  5. I was especially eager to read this post because of the hint you left on my blog yesterday! I will listen to some Mozart music to celebrate his birthday.

    When I was a kid, my Mum used to listen to opera on the radio, but I never understood it. It would have been good to have a book like this, that explains the story behind the words and music. I’m so delighted that when you saw the clips of The Magic Flute, you knew right away what was happening because of the book!

    Thanks, Eric. I’m going to add a link to this post to my blog post from yesterday, to show just how much books and the arts can enhance each other.

  6. Lovely review Erik! I didn’t know it was Mozart’s birthday. Thanks for sharing with us. Also, nice touch on adding the opera pictures.

  7. Trust you to know this stuff, Erik! I had no idea it was Mozart’s birthday! 🙂 I love Mozart and music, so this looks like a great book to me! Thanks for sharing!

  8. I’m ashamed to say I’ve never seen The Magic Flute, heard the music OR read this book. Will have to rectify that very soon. Great review Erik!

  9. That book is all kinds of awesome, Erik! I like classical music too and I love musicals. My favorite is Phantom of the Opera where the Phantom swings down in front of the audience but Miss Seigon and Les Mis are awesome too.

  10. Thanks for sharing this and educating us about Mozart’s birthday. I like it when books have resources in them too. Easy for parents and kids.

  11. Hi Erik! What a great way to introduce kids to the great master, Mozart. I love it! Thanks for including the trailers to the Seattle show. I would love to see that! Great addition to PPBF’s list. 🙂

  12. Great choice! I highly encourage you to take on your research project-and check with your mom or teacher to see what software or web 2.0 tools you can use to really bring it to life! 🙂

  13. I didn’t know about the ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ bit! I have heard of The Magic Flute though and it sounds terrific. Thanks for recommending this book. I’ll check it out from my library next week.

  14. Hello, Erik, I’ve just discovered your blog thanks to your great interview with Diane at Write and Dreamer. And lo and behold, I find out a=bout a book that would be perfect for the 5-7 year olds in my little choir group (I always read them a music-related story at the end) – so thank you. Tha Magic Flute is a wonderful story and a great introduction to opera. Another one you might enjoy is Gianni Schicchi by Puccini – my younger son especailly thinks it’s very funny.

    Erik, I would love it if you would think about joining our Reading the World Challenge over at PaperTigers as if you did it might encourage other kids to join in too, and I would love to get more kids taking part… Here’s the link, in case you’re interested:

  15. Great picture book to introduce young readers into classical music! I love that you provided photos from The Magic Flute opera. Great review!

  16. Great choice, Erik…and I love the photos you included. The resources available sound awesome…I wonder if many teachers are aware of all that is out there. I think many are so overwhelmed with the curriculum they are given and testing and accountability paperwork. Susannah’s PPBF should be broadcast to all elementary schools across the country so that teachers have a handy-all-in-one-place list of GREAT books and resources to go with them for extended learning activities after the story is over.

  17. Erik, I learned all sorts of things by reading your review. It was great. One of the things I learned is that I need to read this book….soon!

  18. AWESOME book choice, Erik! I’m a Mozart fan, too. I didn’t know Twinkle Twinkle was his tune, though.


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