Reviews and Praise

A delightful and very different book, Sounds Magic is written by Josie Thomas, experienced teacher and President of the VMTA. It is completely unconventional, a great deal of fun and allows young students to let their imaginations run riot!

Ms. Thomas has dedicated the publication to all my students, past, present and future [whose] imaginative responses and creative observations have sparked many ideas for this book.

And what ideas there are! In essence, this is a storybook with a musical theme that will appeal to youngsters and with the elf Lumpetta, the principal protagonist. As the title implies, it’s about sound and Lumpetta listens to the ‘sounds’ produced by the important individuals who appear throughout the pages of the book.

And those individuals are a company of musical puppets – a macaw that keeps rhythm and a platypus that indulges in cross-rhythms; a quintet of Aussie birds; even a snobbish koala and a slithery starfish, and a train driver that keeps the company in check with his whistle as they walk about the house composing their tune. O, and not to forget the twin teddy bears! And they all live in a cane basket!

A glossary of both musical and non-musical terms encountered throughout the book can be found at the back along with activity pages and an invitation to the young reader to ‘Finish the Story’ and ‘Write or Draw your Ending.’ Why? because the story can have any ending the child desires and this is where their creativity comes into play.

Notes for teachers and parents give suggestions on how to use the book and how to encourage the youngsters to suggest an ending to the story. Beautifully and colourfully illustrated, this is a book with appeal to young students and very young beginners of any instrument. It’s all about how sound and rhythm are magical.

For young beginners, this is a unique and wonderful way to understand the magic in musical sound.

Published by Piano Arts Publishing, Sounds Magic is available in either hardback or paperback at $24.95 or $19.95 respectively [plus postage] and can be ordered from by using the contact form to place an order. The website also has sheet music and vocal recordings of “The Aussie Animal Puppet Band” written by Lorraine Milne that tells the story in song and “The Conga Song” by Jocelyn Kotchie.

Dr Rita Crews OAM

Past President, Music Teachers Assoc. of NSW

This book is a blueprint that sets the direction for the joy and yearning for learning. This amazing book immediately captures the essence of the magic of music, sound and rhythm so that any child will want and need to know more!

As a long-term educator and scholar of human understanding, I have seen that this book delivers more than words and pictures but a journey of discovery.  It leads to understanding and enchanting children into the joy of what makes us all seek music as our accompaniment to our lives and seek out delight and wonder in music to enchant the listener and the learner.

Josie Thomas has homed in on the focus of finding excitement and captivation for early learners of music and as she is one of the great teachers of children, it is worth noting that this book highlights why this is really worth reading for your child.

Dr Pamela D Schulz OAM

Senior Adjunct Research Fellow, University of South Australia.
School of Creative Industries and Communication, Adelaide 

This is a delightful story which reaches children on so many levels, allowing them to live fully into their imaginations and encouraging them to create in a variety of different ways while also teaching practical skills of music making and life skills of listening, sharing and working collaboratively.

Jocelyn Kotchie

Composer, Music Educator and
President of the WA Music Teachers Association

SOUNDS MAGIC is the perfect title for this debut picture book from Josie Thomas. Josie has combined her musical knowledge and years of experience as a music teacher to create a book that is unique, both as a teaching tool and fun read.

As parents share this lyrical, rhyming text with their children, the magic of music will captivate young minds. Kids and music go together, and Riley Van Oosten’s full colour illustrations perfectly complement Josie’s playful, imaginative text.

SOUNDS MAGIC  is a highly creative approach to encourage children to discover that music can be their very best friend.

Leigh Hay

Writer, Poet and Editor

Sounds magic is written by a Melbourne Piano teacher Josie Thomas, who was struggling to find the right type of book about music for one of her students. It was then that she decided that she was going to write her own and Sounds Magic was born.

Sounds magic uses puppets as its main characters, and those of us that work with children know how puppets are a great addition to story time and music programs. The book talks about rhythm, time, forte, piano pose and legato, all in language that children can understand. The puppets are led by a train driver with a whistle in hand, making rhythmic noises until all are wanting to be the… most musical “Queen Bee”. It is the train driver that puts a stop to their noise and suggests they make music together rather than trying to outdo each other.

Josie has left the story open ended and there is even a section where you can add your own ending to it. I like that Josie has also added activity page and a glossary which explains some of the terms and has links to website content. The open-ended aspect to the book is so that the children can express themselves creatively, whether this be through words, drawing or music.
Josie wants this book to inspire children to be creative with music and if you go to her website, you can see how her students were inspired through their original music and you can access two different pieces of sheet music plus vocal audios. Being able to use the book and then link into the website to explore music further is a great way to broaden the literacy experience.

Although Josie sees the ‘big’ words as a literacy opportunity, I feel that children of certain age will be limited in their understanding of such words. This may not matter to other readers but I feel like words such as audacious and cacophonic could have been replaced with words that are easier to understand the meaning of and sound out when reading.
Overall, I think this book is a lovely read, especially for those young ones that are starting out in music. The illustrations by Riley are lovely and are a good match for the story; he has brought the puppets to life and immersed them into the book well. If you want to know more about Sounds Magic or want to get yourself a copy then head to

Allison Winchester

SOUNDS MAGIC is a fabulous debut picture book by Josie Thomas.

Josie’s music and teaching background has allowed her to combine the wonderful world of words and music. This interactive book allows children to explore reading and music in an entertaining and stimulating way. It is not only a great book for parents to share with their children, it is also a very useful classroom tool with teaching notes and specially composed songs for one and all.”

Riley van Oosten’s illustrations complement the narrative beautifully!

Maria Wolfe