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


NF PB 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!


The Man with the Violin
Author: Kathy Stinson
Illustrated: Dušan Petričić
Published August 8, 2013 by Annick Press

Goodreads Summary: “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. 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.

My Review and Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: I must preface by saying that this book is not technically nonfiction. It is based on nonfiction, but the story is actually made up.

Too often our days go by without us slowing down and taking anything in. It may be that we are busy or stressed or late , but it has become too common to see people always rushing wherever they are going. This book shows how much we may be missing out on. It also shows the innocence of childhood, and how we need to allow children to explore and slow down even if we are moving fast. It is wonderful how the illustrations capture this for the reader. Combined with the story, this one definitely hits close to home.

Ricki also had some great thoughts and ideas in her review.

Discussion Questions: This book is an important discussion starter. What have you seen recently that was beautiful that others didn’t notice?; Sit ____ and listen to the sounds around you. What do you hear that is beautiful?; Why do you think people didn’t stop to hear Joshua Bell play?; Why did the author feel this was an important story to turn into a picture book?

Book Trailer: 

Read This If You Loved: The Noisy Paint Box by Barb Rosenstock, Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon, Marvin Makes Music by Marvin Hamlisch

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Annick Press and Netgalley for providing a copy for review**

9 thoughts on “The Man with the Violin by Kathy Stinson (Kellee’s Review)”

  1. I adore this book! For the past few months I’ve been looking for picture books that hit all areas of our curriculum for teachers to use for world read-aloud day in March. When I found this one, I thought it would be perfect for our band teacher.

  2. I love this book, Kellee, bought it for my brother and sister-in-law who are musicians! It is indeed beautiful! There’s an old Aliki book called The Listening Walk, which would be a good pairing.

    • Thank you for sharing The Listening Walk with me–I will get it from the library.
      I love the celebration of music in this one. It is a great one to share with musicians 🙂

  3. I also really enjoyed this book! I thought the artist did a wonderful job of capturing movement and sound on a flat page.


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