Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel: a collaboration of story and song from Maestro Classics

The following is by contributor Jennifer Brown.

Do you know Mike Mulligan? How about the Tortoise and the Hare or Casey at the Bat?  These classic children’s stories can now be part of your listening repertoire with the added benefit of introducing your children to classical music through a series called Maestro Classics that I recently had the opportunity to review.

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

 We love to listen to stories both at home and in the car, so when we got the chance to check out “Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel” with its own original score to enhance the story it seemed like the perfect mix for my music and machine loving boys.

The narration is fantastic and engaging, but the music brings a deeper element to the story.  Our family really enjoyed listening to the story, but even more we enjoyed listening to the story a second time after hearing the About the Music track which gave insight about how certain sounds were created.  My (almost) 2 year old excitedly began imitating the sound of the steam (created with a scuba tank) when we learned about its origin.  It’s now his signature sound for requesting a replay.

If you are even the least bit interested in introducing your children to classical music, you won’t be disappointed by this engaging and educational combination of stories and song that features the London Philharmonic Orchestra.  The length of both the stories and bonus educational tracks is approachable and user friendly for even short commutes.

The About the Author and About the Music tracks are so well presented that your child will feel more like they’re being let in on a secret rather than actually learning a new concept.

I really can’t say enough how much we enjoyed Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.  It happens to be a favorite story from my own childhood, and I was thrilled to be able to share it with my children.  We have listened to it probably four times in just the past week and haven’t tired of it yet.  I really love both listening to and learning how the original score plays such an important part in the telling of this classic tale.

Maestro Classics

If introducing your children to classical music or even audio stories is something you’re interested in for your family I encourage you to visit Maestro Classics and check out their offerings.  While Mike Mulligan is a hands down favorite in our home, there are currently nine titles offered through the series including the ones mentioned previously.

I would, however, encourage parents who aren’t familiar with the stories to familiarize themselves with their plots as some of the parings use less contemporary tales which may have some elements that are frightening for young children (just as if you read the original Grimm’s Fairy Tales).

Otherwise, I think you will find this collection fun and ear friendly for the whole family.

What have you and your kids been listening to lately?

About Jennifer

Jennifer, is a stay at home mom to two energetic, fun loving boys ages 6 and 2. She found a new passion in exploring great children's music after becoming a mom, which she blogs about at Swing Whistle Zing. Jennifer fancies finding quality tunes the whole family can enjoy, and dancing with her boys (both big and little) to her favorite songs that connect her to the past & keep her grounded in the present.

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  1. This looks awesome! Thanks! We listen to a lot of pandora around here, and it is typically either the elizabeth mitchell station or cedarmont kids station…although i try to throw some billy joel or glee in there as well 🙂
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  2. Love these!
    Music is a huge part of our lives. I have written a post about why music is so important to children, and one on some free apps to listen to classical music on my blog. Both my husband and I are classically trained musicians (both have Master’s of Music) and we feel like it is extremely crucial to our children’s lives. It enriches so much to have music around the home.
    Thank you for being another voice that is encouraging children to listen to classical music!
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  3. These sound really neat. It kept the attention of your two-year old? My daughter often asks me to put her books to music so this could be perfect. Thanks!
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  4. Thanks for the tip! Another great program is the Classics for Kids podcast. It highlights a new composer or style of music each week, and in just 5 or 6 minutes teaches something new. It’s wonderful for me to listen to, and I’ve been studying music for most of my life. Our family also likes the Classical Kids CDs, especially the one on Mozart and the Magic Flute. It tells the story of an opera or a composer in a very entertaining way, along with excerpts from their music.
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  5. These sound fabulous!! Thanks for the review.

    We’re into Martin and Sylvia stories from Sparklestories.com and The World of Pooh CDs read by Peter Dennis; both on constant replay in our house!

    • Jennifer says:

      We are fans of both the Peter Dennis versions of the Pooh stories & Sparklestories in our house too! If you haven’t already, you might want to check out the Paddington audiobooks. They rank as high as Pooh with our family.

  6. We love Pandora, and Wee Sing music and read long song books with great pictures. Thanks for sharing the Maestro Classics! I just shecked out the link; they look great!!!
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  7. We have several CDs from this series (including Mike) and they are some of my boys (3 & 6) favorites. They listen to them over and over again.