The Concertina in Children's Literature
By Pam Berardino, March, 2005
As a children’s librarian and a concertina player, collecting children’s books that feature concertinas is a natural for me. To date, I have only found two, but they are both unique enough to deserve a listing below. I would love to hear from anyone who might have others to add to the collection.
In the past, there have been forum discussions on the concertina in literature, perhaps some of those contributors can add to this list. Hope you have something on your shelves you can share! (please post a message in the General Discussion Forum)
- Pam Berardino, USA
Tingo and his Magic Concertina
Tacconelli, John & Armstrong, Gurney
TAC – STRONG & Co. Detroit
This 8-sided, 24 page book is about a boy named Tingo, who played his concertina which compelled others to dance and sing. (Ah, if only my playing could do that!) One day, a King’s servant stumbles upon Tingo and informs him that his is trespassing on the majesty’s land. Tingo played for the king’s man, but that only made the horse dance on the soldier’s feet, eventually he was brought in front of the king. Awaiting death (it seems to be the penalty for making a horse dance) Tingo’s fate is turned by a sudden attack on the Kingdom. In the end, Tingo “struck a solemn chord – a minor if you please; He laughed – and then his fingers raced across the pearly keys!” Tingo and the concertina music save the day, he gets the kingdom, and all is well. “…And soon they’d hear his music drifting to them, sweet and low.”
Captain Jeff and the Squeeze Box
Todt, Ruth K.
Photographs by R. D. Richardson
Albert Whitman & Company, Chicago
It’s difficult to find words for this book. The story is told through a series of photographs of a peg-legged marionette named Captain Jeff. One day the doll maker put a box in Captian Jeff’s hands, “…he pulled and the box stretched. Then he pushed and the box squeezed together and it got little again. ‘Why’, he said, ‘this is a squeeze box’. But there wasn’t any music!” The marionettes spend a good part of the book pulling the poor instrument open, as far as the bellows allow, attempting to get music out of it. (This is not the book you would give to someone; prior to letting them try your concertina.) Towards the end of the story, Captain Jeff’s owner puts a record on the victrola so everyone could hear real squeeze box music. Eventually, Captain Jeff plays the squeeze box music so much, everyone gets sick of it. – The End. (A bizarre little book.)