The Man with the Violin by Kathy Stinson (Ricki’s Review)


the man with the violin

The Man with the Violin
Author: Kathy Stinson
Illustrator: Dusan Petricic
Published August 8th, 2013 by Annick Press

Goodreads Summary: 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. But Dylan is swept away by the soaring and swooping notes that fill the air as crowds of oblivious people rush by. 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 and movement expertly demonstrate the transformative power of music. With an afterword explaining Joshua Bell’s story, and a postscript by Joshua Bell himself.

Review: My aunt bought my son this book when she heard people raving about it in the bookstore. It is an absolutely wonderful story. People pay hundreds of dollars to hear Joshua Bell play his violin, yet few stopped to listen when he played in the subway. It begs the question—just what are we missing each day, as we pass through our lives bustling about, blind to the beauty in the world around us? I can’t wait until my son is a bit older, as I think this would be a fantastic book to read together and then head out into the world, stopping and noticing.

Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: This would be a great book to read before a field trip or an outdoor walk. I also love that the author turned a news article into a picture book. It would be really fun for students to choose a news article to transform.

Discussion Questions: Just what are we missing each day?; Why do you think children noticed Joshua Bell more often? What does this say about people, in general?

We Flagged: “Who is playing that beautiful music in the subway? And why is nobody listening?”

Read This If You Loved: Walden by Henry David Thoreau, Little Bobo by Serena Romanelli, Little Rat Makes Music by Monika Bang-Campbell

Recommended For: 

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