The Man With the Violin by Kathy Stinson, Dusan Petricic
Who is playing that beautiful music in the subway? And why is nobody listening? This gorgeous picture book is based on the true story of Joshua Bell, the renowned American violinist who famously took his instrument down into the Washington D.C. subway for a free concert. More than a thousand commuters rushed by him, but only seven stopped to listen for more than a minute. In The Man with the Violin, bestselling author Kathy Stinson has woven a heart-warming story that reminds us all to stop and appreciate the beauty that surrounds us. Dylan is someone who notices things. His mom is someone who doesn’t. So try as he might, Dylan can’t get his mom to listen to the man playing the violin in the subway station. With the beautiful music in his head all day long, Dylan can’t forget the violinist, and finally succeeds in making his mother stop and listen, too. Vividly imagined text combined with illustrations that pulse with energy expertly demonstrate the transformative power of music. With a postscript explaining Joshua Bell’s story, and afterword by Joshua Bell himself.
Kathy Stinson is the author of over 25 books for young people, including the beloved, bestselling Red Is Best. She lives near Guelph, Ontario.
Dušan Petricic is an editorial cartoonist as well as the award-winning illustrator of such children’s books as Mattland, Bone Button Borscht, and Mr. Zinger’s Hat. His latest book for Annick is Snap! He lives in Zemun, Serbia.
The Man with the Violin 4.3 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
Dylan, like most little boys, is a kid who notices things: mismatched boots, an upside down newspaper, a cat eating a bone, and a backwards number "5." His mom, like most grown-ups, notices very little. She rushes through life, going from place to place, trying to get through an endless list of things to do. When Dylan and his mom go into a crowded subway station, Dylan hears beautiful music. It's coming from a violinist. He wants to stop and listen, but of course Mom is too busy for that. She whisks him home, and only much later realizes what a wonderful thing she has missed.
The Man with the Violin is based on the true story of an experiment that violinist, Joshua Bell, did in a Washington D.C. subway station. The story is told in a charming way with language a child would enjoy. Words like, "grr-rumble," and "ro-o-oar," and "patter, " and "clatter," bring sounds to life throughout the book. Probably the strongest aspect of the book is the illustrations. Illustrator, Dusan Petricic visually creates the sounds of music through swirling, colorful lines, and the noise of the station is depicted as sharp, angular, dark lines. Also, the objects Dylan observes, are cleverly illustrated in color while what the mother observes is drawn in dull, boring shades of gray. Children will enjoy picking out the humorous items, such as the mismatched boots, and seeing the splotches of color on things Dylan has noticed.
While the story is written for children, the inherent lesson in the book is one that would most benefit the adults reading it. Namely, that one should not rush through life, but rather pause to enjoy it.
The Man with the Violin is a book that would appeal to children ages 4-8. Fans of Joshua Bell would also enjoy this book, as there is a brief description of the actual experiment and a postscript written by Joshua Bell. As noted on the back cover, a portion of the proceeds from the book will be donated to a charity that promotes engagement with music among young people.
More than 1 year ago
I received an eARC copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. I also borrowed the print version from my library. Here is my honest review.
A sweet story with a message for all of us to slow down a little and notice things. As with most picture books, it is the art that captures our eye; Petri¿i¿ has done a phenomenal job with this book. Despite being a 2D flat picture, one can sense movement and hear sound. It's incredible.
Worth noting: a notice on the back states: "A portion of the proceeds from this book will be donated to a charity that promotes engagement with music among young people."
As a mom, I think this is a book we should read often to remind us to pause with our children and discover the world around them. It is so new to them and we have a chance to see the world through new eyes again. As a teacher, this is a book that I would definitely want in my classroom library. It would make a wonderful book to build a writing/illustrating unit around. It is also a great example of a fiction work based on a true event (non-fiction).
This is a book that I will be adding to our bookshelf.
More than 1 year ago
The story of Joshua Bell's performance in the subway is one that repeatedly makes it way around Facebook and other social media sites. It is a true story, and one that serves to remind us to take a moment every once in a while, to really appreciate the world around us. Common cliches, such as "Stop and smell the roses" pop into my mind whenever I read about this story. It's something that we often forget to do as adults, as we feel the pressure to move from Point A to Point B, to hurry, hurry, HURRY!
Children don't operate that way. They are filled with wonder at the world around them, often pausing to take it all in. We used to be that way. And then we were trained to stop being so observant.
This story serves as a reminder to us to stop and listen to what children have to say when they notice something beautiful. It reminds us to appreciate the finer things in life, such as the beautiful music that Mr. Bell creates with his violin. Within all of the hustle and bustle of our modern lives lies so much beauty that we keep missing.
Of course, this book primarily focuses on the music. This is emphasized in the illustrations. Dylan's world is black and white, except for himself and his mother. As the music envelops him, his world becomes brighter and filled with color, demonstrating how music is so enriching. In addition to the visual representation of the music are a lot of descriptive words about the clanging and noise that is stifling the music and adding to the chaos.
This is a picture book that would be great for older children in musical education or biographical studies. For younger audiences, the story itself will probably go over their heads. I would read it to them, anyway, and play some of Joshua Bell's music while doing so. Or, treat them to a video of one of his performances on YouTube afterwards. You may be surprised at the impact such music will have on them. You may also find yourself being impacted more than you know.
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.
More than 1 year ago
This book is based upon a true story. This book makes you stop and think about how you conduct your life and if you are missing out on the beauty and solace that is all around you because you are always busy and on the go. Dylan, the adorable main character of the book, was with his mom going to the subway when he heard the most beautiful, heavenly music that he had ever heard. He looked around and his eyes locked with the common-looking man, wearing a baseball cap, who was producing that melodious music from his violin. He so wanted to stay and listen but his mom was in a hurry, (as most adults are) and she tugged on him to keep moving or they would miss their train. All day long that music swirled around in his head and made him lightheaded and very happy. When they finally got home that night, and mom was preparing dinner, that same glorious music that he had heard earlier that day floated out from his radio and totally filled their apartment. The radio announcer identified the man who had played so exquisitely in the subway as one of the best violinists in the world. Dylan could not believe his ears and he quickly got his mom's attention. He was so excited and said to her, "See we should have stopped to listen." Realizing her faux pas she grabbed her little boy and together they were swept off their feet as they danced and appreciated the glorious music that was playing from that man's precious Stradivarious on the radio right into their hearts. The artwork in this book is stunning. The illustrator made perfect choices to depict the fluidity and flow of the music and contrasted it to the chaos and noise that usually surrounds us on a daily basis. I highly recommend it.
More than 1 year ago
A wonderful story which shows the glorious
beauty of music through the ears of a child.
Will inspire us to be present to the wonders
and talents around us. I would have liked it to be
More than 1 year ago
Based on a true story, this is a beautifully told story of how we have become such a busy society and are missing the beauty around us. The text tells the story but the illustrations capture the essence of the message - stop and enjoy the music.
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