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Valentine and His Violin

Overview

A humorous cacophonous picture book by the illustrator of Tom the Tamer. Valentine believes he has a special knack with his violin and he is entirely right--just not in the way he expects.  He practices and practices, but he only succeeds in making more noise than music.
 
Audiences at home don't appreciate him and Valentine takes his violin to seek his fortune. As it happens, there are times when ...

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Overview

A humorous cacophonous picture book by the illustrator of Tom the Tamer. Valentine believes he has a special knack with his violin and he is entirely right--just not in the way he expects.  He practices and practices, but he only succeeds in making more noise than music.
 
Audiences at home don't appreciate him and Valentine takes his violin to seek his fortune. As it happens, there are times when Valentine’s peculiar talent can solve particularly pesky problems.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review
The art…is absolutely gorgeous. Hopman's graceful watercolor illustrations have a sophisticated pastel palette and dynamic compositions. Each page is filled with detail: the diversity of animals running from the boy's excruciating music, the lush landscapes with cleverly hidden extras…the delicate scribbles of forest foliage. Hopman does wonders with the most sketchy of lines; two dots and a squiggle, and voilà: a face in exquisite auditory agony.
—Lisa Brown
Publishers Weekly
Hopman’s sprightly hero carries a double curse: he’s a rotten violinist, and he’s supremely self-confident. “Horrible!” yells a woman after young Valentine saws his way through “Ode to Joy” in the town square. “Valentine is surprised,” Hopman writes, showing the boy walking away from the outraged townspeople, puzzled, but not upset. “It went pretty well, didn’t it?” Wandering through the picturesque European countryside, Valentine offers music to the unfortunate and beleaguered. His horrendous cacophony makes a stuck horse bolt, cures a constipated wolf, and forces a besieging army to retreat; eventually, like a young Forrest Gump, he reaches fame completely inadvertently. Hopman’s (Tom the Tamer) loopy, Quentin Blake-esque paintings offer whole landscapes of beguiling chaos; in the war scene, a shocked elephant plunges off a bridge as Valentine plays, while mustachioed foot soldiers race off and war boats row hysterically away. The improbable power of Valentine to wreak havoc and the deadpan suitability of his musical selections (the “Marche Militaire” chases the army off, while for the constipated wolf he plays “Water Music”) will endear him and his creator to readers. Ages 4–up. (Sept.)
From the Publisher

The improbable power of Valentine to wreak havoc and the deadpan suitability of his musical selections (the “Marche Militaire” chases the army off, while for the constipated wolf he plays “Water Music”) will endear him and his creator to readers.  --Publishers Weekly

STARRED REVIEW … Dutch illustrator Hopman, known for his collaborations (Tom the Tamer, written by Tjibbe Veldkamp, 2011),  proves he can solo as well in this entertaining riff on the sounds of a beginning violinist, published here in lively, colloquial translation. …Hopman’s engaging paintings are set with a narrow white border on double-page spreads. Loose-lined pen-and-ink drawings with pastel watercolor wash include intriguing details. … Delightful whether or not you’ve ever attempted to play a stringed instrument. --Kirkus Reviews

School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—This oversize picture book depicts the journeys of a young violinist who, despite his instructor's praise, sets teeth on edge with his playing. Crowds cringe at his Ode to Joy so he's ousted from the castle. An exhausted workhorse flees in fear at the Allegretto. Valentine's Water Music relieves a wolf's constipation, and Waltz of the Flowers rescues a knight from a dragon attack. Though his Marche Militaire saves the knight's castle from a besieging army, readers can't help but gulp as Valentine's story ends with him on stage in front of the royal family. Pen-and-watercolor spreads include details and palettes to foster each mood. Modern narration juxtaposes the historical backdrop. Take the opportunity to play the named musical pieces in the background to make this story even more unusual and approachable.—Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA
Kirkus Reviews
Valentine's violin teacher says he's doing very well, but the effect of his playing on others is dramatic in a different sense. Dutch illustrator Hopman, known for his collaborations (Tom the Tamer, written by Tjibbe Veldkamp, 2011), proves he can solo as well in this entertaining riff on the sounds of a beginning violinist, published here in lively, colloquial translation. In the text, the small boy tries out various well-known pieces such as Ode to Joy, Water Music and Marche Militaire. The pictures show the result: People scatter; horses leap; a constipated wolf produces an enormous poop; a dragon flees; an army retreats. Hopman's engaging paintings are set with a narrow white border on double-page spreads. Loose-lined pen-and-ink drawings with pastel watercolor wash include intriguing details. There's a high-ceilinged music studio full of art, a walled city with canals reminiscent of Venice and a castle besieged by an army that uses both elephants and Viking boats. This medieval fairy-tale world adds to the absurdity of the story, which seems to end well, as Valentine's talent wins him the opportunity to perform in court. Or perhaps it doesn't. The final endpapers show birds flying away from his concert for the king and queen. Delightful whether or not you've ever attempted to play a stringed instrument. (Picture book. 5-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781935954170
  • Publisher: Lemniscaat USA
  • Publication date: 9/1/2012
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,455,847
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 12.20 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

PHILIP HOPMAN (1961) graduated from the Rietveld Academy of Art in Amsterdam. Since 1988, he has illustrated over 120 children’s books for publishers around the world. His pictures are crammed with hilarious details; his dashing style shows great professional skill. Previously Philip Hopman published with Lemniscaat USA Tom the Tamer, 22 Orphans and The School Trip.

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Read an Excerpt

Just on the outskirts of town there has been an accident.  The horse is old and feeble.  Gosh, thinks Valentine, the poor creature! Maybe he'd like a little music...He plays the Allegretto.And guess what?  The horse immediately jumps up! "Thanks for playing your violin," says the faarmer. "I thought is was very...er...DIFFERENT."

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