Reviewed for Fourth Grade, 2008

Kalimba

If you want your child to learn about music without having to invest in expensive, breakable and headache inducing instruments, the kalimba may be just the ticket. This simple, hand-held African instrument is made of high quality wood and metal. Also known as the thumb piano because it's played by plucking the metal keys with one’s thumbs, it produces a smooth, soothing sound. This version of the kalimba, called the Catania, has 8 notes and is in the key of C, making it a user-friendly introduction perfect for beginners. The instrument will grow with your child's abilities, and he can learn to play many famous children's tunes, as well as some ethnic groves, from the many music books written specifically for kalimba. Not up for reading sheet music? Let your child experiment creating his own songs, using the 8 notes at his fingertips. You'll never regret having this jewel of an instrument in your home. (Kalimba Magic, $33.00)