cover image The Man with the Violin

The Man with the Violin

Kathy Stinson, illus. by Dusan Petricic. Annick (Firefly, dist.), $19.95 (36p) ISBN 978-1-55451-565-3

“In January of 2007, over a thousand people heard me play my violin in the L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station in Washing­ton, D.C. But very few actually listened,” writes musician Joshua Bell in a postscript to a picture book based on that event. According to Bell, a few children tried to stay and listen, but were hustled along by their parents—which is exactly what happens to a (fictional) boy in this story. “Dylan was someone who noticed things,” writes Stinson (Red Is Best). Petricic (Mr. Zinger’s Hat) provides a wonderful visual representation of Dylan’s attentiveness as boy and mother dash through the dull, gray metro station. White contrails streak behind them, and Dylan’s highlights colorful objects and people that have caught his eye (his mother’s contrail, meanwhile is blank). Swirls of colors show how Bell’s music enchants Dylan, and at times the boy is literally born aloft by the music he hears and remembers. In a world of sounds that aren’t always as pleasant as a Stradivarius, Stinson and Petricic remind readers young (and especially old) to stop and listen to the arpeggios. Ages 5–8. (Sept.)