The Man with the Violin

Our BLG book this week was The Man with the Violin written by Kathy Stinson and illustrated by Dušan Petričić Thank you to Lisa, our newest BLG reader for sharing this beautiful book with us!

 There's a Book for That - The Man with the Violin

How lovely to have this book come into our classroom – it is already easily one of my favourite picture books for 2013 and both author and illustrator are Canadian! This book is also especially meaningful for students because music is such a large part of many of their lives. Some students are fortunate to be part of the St James Music Academy (SJMA) after school programs and play a variety of instruments. Every week all students sing joyously with Jill Samycia as part of the outreach program of St James Music. Music is magic. We need no convincing!

But this beautiful book reminds everyone about the power of music to touch us, if we only let it in.  Students were intrigued to hear how this book was based on a true event where musician Joshua Bell took his instrument into the metro in Washington D.C. for a free concert. Dressed in regular clothes and with no special signs, he just played. And sadly, he was mostly ignored. After 43 minutes of play, only seven people stopped to listen. Nobody clapped. His open violin case had only $32.17 even though people all over the world would easily pay $100 for a ticket to listen to him play on stage. Joshua did notice children try to stop and listen but they would be hurried along by their parents.

Kathy Stinson tells the story of what it might have been like for one particular child who experienced hearing Joshua Bell play in the metro station. With captivating illustrations by Petričić, this is an important story of what we miss by not being in the moment. How many beautiful experiences are lost on us as we rush through our days?

Student reviewers respond:

Gracie rated this book 4/5 and writes: I kind of liked this book.  It was pretty good. My favourite part is when the man played his beautiful music. Why did the famous violinist dress up as anybody? I play violin. I was surprised when no one listened to that pretty music.

Andrew rated this book 5/5 and writes: I have a connection because I play the violin too. I noticed the Mom didn’t notice anything. I have a connection to SJMA. When I went to the Surrey Flea Market, I saw a man playing his guitar.  Yesterday, my violin teacher went and played in the concert.

Kala rated this book 5/5 and writes: I like when Dylan was spreading the colour. He was listening and when others stared at him, they all started to feel the music from him. The Mom was just kept on going. Dylan stopped and looked at Joshua Bell. He did nothing and just standed there. But the Mom grabbed him and kept walking. When he left, he was still listening. 

Hyo Min rated this book 5/5 and writes: My favourite part was when he followed the music. I love the book! It makes me feel happy. I think his Mom is not listening to the music. Maybe she should listen instead of rushing.

Arianne rated this book 4/5 and writes: Dylan wanted to stop to listen to the music. Mom told him we have to go home now. Dylan pulled his Mom toward the music. Why did his Mom not listen? His Mom didn’t notice because she was rushing and maybe thinking she needs to cook.

Jorja rated this book 5/5 and writes: I love it because it was beautiful. Why did the boy want to stop?I wonder what the music sound like? I like the colours.

Kevin rated this book 5/5 and writes: I know that Dylan came home and listed to the music. I know that Dylan is peaceful and his Mom is in a rush and a hurry always. What kind of violin does the man play? I can’t believe that only kids came to hear the music and only pay him $32.17. I love that some of the pictures are back and white.

Ava rated this book 3/5 and writes: I have a connection because I play the violin. Dylan was the only one to stop to listen to the music of the violin. My favourite part of the story was the pictures. Dylan was the only one who was colourful.

Shereese rated this book 5/5 and writes: I think the book is a nice book. My favourite part is when he plays the violin. Dylan stops to listen to the violin, to the beautiful song.

Giovanni rated this book 4/5 and writes: Dylan liked the music. He wanted to stop and listen.

Heman rated this book 3/5 and writes: My favourite part is when Dylan and his Mom was listening to Joshua Bell songs in the radio. I connected like I play violin just like Joshua Bell. I noticed that the illustrator made the pictures black and white except the things that Dylan was noticing. I noticed that Dylan was floating when he was listening to the music.

Monday September 30th, 2013

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult reads! The #IMWAYR crowd always has so many fantastic titles to share.


I read some beautiful picture books this week and some very amusing Toon comics:

My absolute swoon book was . . .

The Man with the Violin written by Kathy Stinson and illustrated by Dusan Petricic with a postscript by Joshua Bell

This book is such an important experience that I want to say next to nothing yet I want to say almost everything. I LOVE, love, love and then love this book some more. It quickly shot to the top of my favourite lists for 2013. WOW! The first page spread is divine. It was a 5/5 book just because of those two sentences and the illustration. And then it just continued to get better. Read and treasure this title. Go, now! Find this book. Seriously.

The Man with the Violin #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

I also enjoyed . .

Little Mouse’s Big Book of Beasts by Emily Gravett

Little Mouse has edited a book of Beasts by Emily Gravett to make it less intimidating because you know, lions and rhinos and bears . . . oh, my! And snakes, crocodiles and wasps . . . the poison, the teeth, the stings! Terrible! Little Mouse has rewritten a book that is large on ingenuity. I know this will be an instant favourite in my room. There are lift the flaps, peer through holes in the pages, wadded up newspaper (really!) – so much fun!

 Little Mouse's Big Book of Beasts  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Ten Things I Loved about You by Daniel Kirk

An adorable book about kindness and friendship but it has possibilities beyond just these themes. This title really explores finding the best in a friend and thinking about the positive qualities that are dear. Would be a great prompt for a writing activity.

Ten Things I Love about You  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Bully by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

I found this title simple but yet, powerful – Seeger trademarks. So much is told with limited text and accurate expressions of various feelings. Explores questions such as . . . What prompts mean/bully behaviour? How do we feel when we are called on our actions? What is the cause and effect relationship of bully dynamics?

Bully  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Yellow Moon,  Apple Moon written by Pamela Porter and illustrated by Matt James

Simple lyrical language. A beautifully illustrated bedtime poem. Translation of a New Mexican lullaby included in the back pages.

 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Count the Monkeys written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Kevin Cornell

LOVE the interactive aspect of this story. Barnett is a master at this (think Chloe and the Lion) I read it to myself and must admit was tempted to leap out of my chair a few times! I cannot even imagine the mad rumpus that will ensue when I share this with my class! Fun, more fun, and then even more!

Count the Monkeys  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Barry’s Best Buddy by Renee French

A cute little story line about what we do for our friends. Love the intrigue that the marching ants carrying all kinds of puzzling things inspires – just what are they up to?

Barry's Best Buddy  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

A Day in the Office of Doctor Bugspit by Elise Gravel

Wonderfully odd. Doctor Bugspit works in a medical clinic in outer space. Quickly readers will suspect that his medical training might have come from some strange location where standards  are not quite up to our Earthly expectations. Many strange ailments come into the clinic and the Doctor’s suggestions are even stranger!

 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

With two presentations this week on top of teaching, I unfortunately missed out on big chunks of reading time so I am only half way through the novel I have been reading –  Jinx by Sage Blackwood. Finding it a fascinating read so far!

With our student book club we have started The Boy on Cinnamon Street by Phoebe Stone. Check out our discussion here.

Next up, after I finish Jinx, I plan to read The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes and The Boy in the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson.

What are you reading? Happy reading to all!