A Kaleidonotes Study Guide for Music Class

My second picture book, The Kaleidonotes & the Mixed Up Orchestra, is often used by instructors to teach children the instruments of the orchestra and where they sit on stage.

Interesting Facts About the Book

The number seven is repeated several times in this book.

There are seven characters, and each name begins with one of the seven notes in the musical scale: Amos, Bo, Cloe, Dax, Echo, Finn, Gigi.

There are also seven colors represented (one for each character): red (Finn), orange (Gigi), yellow (Cloe), green (Amos), blue (Bo), indigo (Dax), violet (Echo).

The book’s themes include cooperation and teamwork.

Map illustrating where instrument groups are usually positioned on stage in the orchestra.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why do the notes face the wrong direction?

The notes have popped off the page and are three dimensional! When they interact with the instruments of the orchestra, sometimes they turn and face another direction.

Why are the notes not black?

Rather than color each note various shades of black, I decided to make the book more colorful by assigning a color to each note. Since there are seven notes, it made sense to use the seven colors of the rainbow.

Where did the name ‘Kaleidonotes’ come from?

‘Kalos’ is Greek for ‘beautiful’, and ‘eidos’ is Greek for ‘form’. So the name ‘Kaleidonotes’ means ‘beautifully formed’ notes! At the time we made the book (2000-2001), we enjoyed creating a new, unusual word.

Why is the viola not included in the orchestra?

The violin and viola looked so similar in my illustrations that we decided to leave the viola out so we could create a second book called: The Kaleidonotes & the Vanishing Violas. That story explores the differences between a violin and viola, and it explains why the viola is so important to the orchestra. The second book is still not published because we are debating whether or not to redesign the size and shape of the books as a series. With the increasing popularity of e-books, we are even considering publishing as e-books and possibly creating interactive Apps for iPad or the iPhone.


Click on the image to view full size then download and/or print.

Print the page above and below. Color and cut out the instruments and place them in their appropriate place on stage on the orchestra map. Both images were designed to print ‘landscape’ (11 x 8.5 inches), but you may want to enlarge the map on bigger paper (17 x 11)  to accommodate the larger instruments.

Click on the image to view full size then download and/or print.

Anatomy of an Author Visit Prep Packet

When a school signs up for an author visit, I send the school a confirmation packet filled with goodies that a librarian or teacher can use to prepare students for my program. Here is a sneak peek of the contents.

1 – Letter to the school confirming the date.

2 – Hardcover copy of Polliwog.

3 – Hardcover copy of Tiny Snail.

4 – Hardcover copy of “Sea Horse, run!”.

5 – Hardcover copy of Kaleidonotes.

6 – Four bookmarks (one for each book).

7 – Activity for Kaleidonotes.

8 – Activities for Tiny Snail including…
“Tiny Snail taught me…” Activity (For Bulletin Board)
Teacher’s Guide for Tiny Snail

9 – Activities for Polliwog including…
Frog Life Cycle Activity (Color, Cut, & Paste)
Teacher’s Guide to Polliwog

10 – Activities for “Sea Horse, run!” including…
“Sea Horse, run!” Teacher’s Guide.
Sea Horse Diagram
Brain Coral Maze
Draw Sea Horse with a Dot-to-Dot Activity

11 – DVD with videos of the books and me as the narrator.
Video of Tiny Snail.
Video of Kaleidonotes.
Video of Polliwog (English).
Video of Polliwog (Spanish).
“Sea Horse, run!” video is only available on the DVD.

12 – Timetable for a Successful Author Visit.

13 – Author Photo.

14 – Invoice for author visit fee and travel expenses.

15 – Book flyers for students who want to purchase books.

16 – Shipping label.

(17 )- FAQ by Teachers & Administrators / Program Outline for K-5 (not pictured above).

Want an author visit at your school?

Email books @ bookaroos.com for cost and availability in your area.

Three Author Visits October 12th and 14th

Norma Terrell (Left) and Tammy Carter Bronson (Right).

On the morning of October 12th I drove through a massive downpour to reach Dobbs Elementary in Rockwall, Texas. I don’t like to unload my posters, boxes, and displays in the rain, but thankfully the school had a covered walkway that I could park very close to. About 230 Pre -K through second grade students were inspired to try creating their own stories. Many thanks to the librarian, Norma Terrell, for investing so much time preparing the students for my visit. The children were divided into three groups:

1st Grade 8:20-9:00
Kinder & Pre-K 9:10-9:55
2nd Grade 10:05-10:55

After quickly signing a few books for teachers and students, I drove to Springer Elementary School for an afternoon author visit in the same district (Rockwall ISD). Thankfully the rain storm ended before I left Dobbs, so unloading was not a problem at Springer.

Springer Elementary, Rockwall, Texas

Kindergarten and 1st Grade 12:45 PM – 1:20 PM
Book Signing
2nd and 3rd Grade 1:45 PM – 2:30 PM

Over 150 students in each group (around 320 students total) squeezed into the library to hear me talk.

My Display in the Springer Elementary Library

My husband, Matthew Shane Bronson, handled the book sales.

Matthew at Springer Elementary

Friday morning (October 14th) I visited Redeemer Montessori School in Irving, Texas. The first two groups met in the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer community room. After speaking to two groups of about 25 children each, I quickly moved my displays to the school’s main building, Story Hall. The last presentation was in the 4th through 6th grade classroom.

8:45 – 9:25 AM  Kindergarten
9:35 – 10:20 AM 1st – 3rd Grades
10:30 – 11:20 4th – 6th Grades

The intimate setting with only about 15 students allowed for great one-on-one interaction with the children. After the program, the students were eager to share the illustrated stories they created for a recent class project. Although this was one of the smallest schools I’ve ever visited (only ~65 students total), it was certainly one of the most rewarding!

Redeemer Montessori, Irving, Texas


AM Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Dobbs Library Website

Dobbs Elementary School Main Website

PM Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Springer Elementary School

AM Friday, October 14, 2011

The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer

Redeemer Montessori School

My Author Visit at Jackson Primary School

Jackson Primary School, Atlanta, Georgia

This afternoon I spoke to about 330 kindergarten and first grade students at Jackson Primary School in Atlanta, Georgia. The students were divided in to four groups:

K 11:45-12:15
K 12:20-12:50
1st 12:55-1:25
1st 1:30-2:00

My visit was sponsored by the Jackson Primary PTA as part of their fine arts program, so today’s presentations focused specifically on illustrating picture books. Although each presentation was only thirty minutes, I packed in lots of great information about…

Storyboards, miniature “practice” books (a.k.a “dummy” books), and final art.

Using colored pencils, watercolor paint, cut-outs, collages, and/or real objects in art.

Artists research the animals or settings they want to draw by checking out books from the library and using video or digital cameras to take pictures.

I also shared different drafts of my drawings. Students saw firsthand that sometimes shapes and colors do not look right the first time I draw it. I draw and redraw the pictures then I test each picture on my audience, both children and adults. If my audience does not understand the picture, I draw it again. Practice, practice, practice!

Ms. Webb (pictured left) in front of the beautiful murals in the Jackson Primary Library.

Many thanks to the librarian, Teresa Webb, for investing so much time preparing the students for my visit. Ms. Webb read Tiny Snail, Polliwog, and Sea Horse, run! to the children. Thank you Jackson Primary PTA for inviting me to your school!