Make Learning Fun

Yellow Umbrella: A book with a soundtrack


This book is amazing! It’s called the Yellow Umbrella and is illustrated by Jae Soo Liu with music (yes, music!) by Dong Il Sheen.

No words. Just music.

It’s beautiful. It’s wonderful. It’s different.


Maia and I were mesmerized. We sat on the sofa, side by side, and flipped the pages at the pauses on the CD. On each page a different colored umbrella joins the yellow one and the piano music changes.


After the first track (which is devoted to the book), Maia got up and danced to the rest of the CD.

The whole experience was beautiful.

I could see using this book as a regular transitional piece — perhaps to listen and look at after preschool while we change gears. We don’t own this one (it’s on loan from a friend), but I’m thinking we will shortly…

Do you know of any other books set to music like this one? Or other really unique books I should check out?

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  • Reply
    October 19, 2009 at 4:45 am

    This sounds like such a great book!
    You might like Once Upon an Ordinary School Day by Colin McNaughton illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura – it’s about using music as an inspiration to creativity. The school kids listen to various different types of music and then write the stories that the music inspires in them. I want to do something like this with my eldest, but will use the music to see what pictures the sounds inspire.

  • Reply
    October 19, 2009 at 9:08 am

    That looks like a great book, I love the idea of colors or feelings being linked to different musical sounds. I have though about Peter and the Wolf before — we had a narrated record as a kid that I loved, but I am not sure if it is too scary still for my kids, plus we don’t have a record player! I bet someone somewhere has illustrated a book to go with it, though I don’t know of one off the top of my head.
    Thanks for the recommendation. :)

  • Reply
    October 19, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    I was just thinking that we need more music in our lives (who doesn’t?)–this sounds great. Thank you for sharing:)

  • Reply
    Julie Liddle
    October 19, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    this has been one of my favorites ever since I discovered it a couple of years ago. If i could figure out how to link this comment to photos, I’d love to show you the art done by my students in response to it.

  • Reply
    Julie Liddle
    October 19, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    I will do that. BTW, you asked for other book suggestions. Another favorite of mine is called “The Forest” by Claire Nivola. It’s not a toddler book, definitely more for kids Maia’s age and older, and I think it’s lovely (though not as unique as Yellow Umbrella), and a great story about facing one’s fears.

  • Reply
    October 19, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    Very interesting. I put the book in my amazon wish list. On, I googled musical books on CD. It came up with some interesting things which you might enjoy browsing through. I wonder what the Kindermusik ones are like.

  • Reply
    October 19, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    Yellow Umbrella sounds really neat. I think my girls would love it. This isn’t a story set to music but Can You Hear It? by William Lach of the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a book and CD set which combines art and music. The book contains painting which are paired with pieces of classical music on the CD. With each painting their are question prompts encouraging listeners to hear aspects of the picture represented in the music.

  • Reply
    The Artful Parent
    October 19, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    That sounds wonderful! I’ll definitely have to look for that book. -Jean

  • Reply
    The Artful Parent
    October 19, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Yes! Will you e-mail me some of the photos? I’d love to see them!

  • Reply
    The Artful Parent
    October 20, 2009 at 3:05 am

    Thanks everyone for the ideas and book recommendations!

  • Reply
    October 22, 2009 at 3:51 am

    we LOVE that book…especially on rainy days. will run off and investigate the others mentioned in comments.

  • Reply
    Diana (Ladybug Limited)
    October 26, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    Had to come back to this post as we just got Yellow Umbrella from our library and… wow! My 4 year old has listened to it several times and went to sleep with the music on repeat tonight. I’ve never seen/heard anything like it. Please post again if you find more!

  • Reply
    The Artful Parent
    October 27, 2009 at 2:34 am

    Yay! Glad you (and your 4 year old) liked it!

  • Reply
    November 22, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    We also borrowed this from the library and we loved it! My 5-year-old spent HOURS dancing to it for several days. This book/music really touched me, I am not a musical person but this music speaks to me! The whole thing is just so unique. Thanks for the recommendation!

  • Reply
    March 10, 2020 at 12:52 pm

    I had this book as a child, to this day one of my favorites. The artwork is beautiful and the music is as well. The music brings back such young memories

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