March 4 – Marching Music Day


About the Holiday

Taking place during Music in Our Schools Month, Marching Music Day was established by Drum Corps International and celebrates this ever expanding art form. Built on the drum beats that once kept military units in marching in unison, marching bands now include brass, woodwinds, and even electric guitars. Dance teams, baton twirlers, and color guards often interpret the music through motion, creating entertainment enjoyed by spectators of parades, football games, Broadway shows, and other events. The production of electronic and digital instruments has created an evolution in marching music to include string instruments and synthesizers, broadening its definition, sound, and audience.

Bears in a Band

Written by Shirley Parenteau | Illustrated by David Walker


Four colorful wooden chairs are waiting with instruments on their seats, but “where are the bears?” “Here they come! / ‘Music! Hurray!’ / Each bear chooses / something to play.” Yellow Bear picks the bells on a string. He shakes them, making them “ding-a-ding-ding.” Floppy Bear puts on the little red drum and pounds it, creating a ‘Boompity boomp / Pah-rum, pum, pum!”


Image copyright David Walker, text copyright Shirley Parenteau. Courtesy of Candlewick.

Calico blows the shiny brass horn “Tootley-tooo” while Fuzzy chooses the cymbals to “crash and bang.” Then “the bears all play / a noisy song. / They don’t care / if the notes are wrong.” But then the four little bears hear a snoring sound from behind the door. Who is sleeping there? It’s Big Brown Bear! Will all the practicing wake him up?


Image copyright David Walker, text copyright Shirley Parenteau. Courtesy of Candlewick.

Sleepy Big Bear hears the drum bang and the cymbals clash. He opens one eye, sits up, and calls, “‘What’s going on?’” The dings and dongs, thrums and toots don’t sound like music to Big Bear. He covers his ears with his paws. “The big bear / rushes into the room. / The racket stops / with a small ka-boom.”


Image copyright David Walker, text copyright Shirley Parenteau. Courtesy of Candlewick.

But he’s not there to stop the group. He picks up a ladle and waves it happily. “He joins the others / on dancing feet / with his ladle baton / setting the beat.” He shows Floppy Bear how to play the drum low, and when he raises the ladle, Yellow Bear shakes the bells loudly. Then all four bears stand in front of Big Bear with their instruments ready. When Big Bear gives the signal, they play together harmoniously. With a tinkling of the bells and a final drumroll, the concert is ended and the bears take a bow.


Image copyright David Walker, text copyright Shirley Parenteau. Courtesy of Candlewick.

Shirley Parenteau’s story for little music makers is as adorable as they come. With fun musical sounds to read aloud and a bit of gentle suspense, Parenteau’s rhymes will delight young children. When Big Bear wakes up and joins in, readers get a sweet lesson in inclusion that leads to harmony in both music and friendship. A spirited reading will no doubt turn story time into music time in no time!


Image copyright David Walker, text copyright Shirley Parenteau. Courtesy of Candlewick.

Little ones will fall in love with David Walker’s huggable bears. With eager, smiling faces they take to their instruments, shaking, pounding, and clanging with abandon. Even Big Bear rushing out from his interrupted nap is keenly curious and ready to play. Walker’s softly vibrant colors highlight the cuteness of this group of friends and will charm both the kids and adults reading together.

A sweet story that little ones will ask for over and over, Bears in a Band would be a terrific new baby gift and a lovely addition to children’s bookshelves.

Ages 2 – 4

Candlewick, 2018 (Board Book) | ISBN 978-1536203363; (Hardcover) 978-0763681470

Discover more about Shirley Parenteau and her books on her website.

To learn more about David Walker, his books, and his art, visit his website.

Marching Music Day Activity


Drum Coloring Page


It’s fun to rat-a-tat-tat on a drum! It’s also fun to color! Grab your crayons, pencils, or markers and enjoy this printable Drum Coloring Page!

Picture Book Review

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