Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Man with the Violin by Kathy Stinson

The Man with the Violin 
by Kathy Stinson 
illustrated by Dusan Petricic
Picture Book
NetGalley-Annick Press Ltd.
July 2013

Book Jacket 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 Thoughts
You can see the music flow upon the page as Dylan walks into the subway station with vivid colors in a world devoid of substance. I have to hand it to the illustrator and love how Dylan’s sightline is filled with color while his mother’s is blank white. The adults are in such a hurry that they do not notice that Joshua Bell, a world renowned violinist, is playing his Stradivarius for them all. It seems that only Dylan can sense the magic that is happening and wants to stay and listen but his mother is in a hurry.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book with its gorgeous art and message about enjoying what is around you. It is also amazing that it is based around a true event and that Bell took his priceless Stradivarius down there with him. Bell said in his Postscripts that it was the children who strained to listen because of their imagination and curiosity. Most people just hurried by and did not hear the music, which is sad because Bell can play a mean violin. Seriously, look him up! It is a nice message that the mother did put down her stuff and danced with her boy!
Highly recommend!

Book Pairings
The Fiddler of the Northern Lights by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock
The Chinese Violin by Madeleine Thien
Nina's Waltz by Corinne Demas

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