• November 28, 2014

Curiosity brings reward in ‘Violin’

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Posted: Sunday, September 1, 2013 4:30 am

Did you see that?

Chances are, you see lots of things that grown-ups don’t. First of all, you’re down closer to the ground and adults are way up high. And then, remember, big people move faster and are always busy, while you’ve got more time to look around.

Your eyes see all kinds of things … but would you pay attention to something your ears noticed? In the new book “The Man with the Violin” by Kathy Stinson and Dušan Petricic, you’ll read about a boy who did.

Dylan never missed a thing. He was a very observant person, but his mother? She was not. She was always busy and rush-rush-rushing, so on that cold day in January when Dylan heard beautiful music in the subway, he wasn’t surprised that his mom said there was no time to stop and check it out.

Dylan listened for as long as he could. The man with the violin moved with the sounds he was making, back and forth, like each note was taking him to another place. The music was much better than the “blibbity blabbity! Blah blah blah!” that was coming from the crowd or the growl that the train made. The music was sad and it was happy, it flew to the sky and back down again, like a very lovely bird.

Dylan couldn’t get it out of his head. Going home, he asked his mother if she thought the man with the violin might still be in the subway. His mother didn’t know who he was talking about.

But later that day, once they were home, Dylan’s mother turned on the radio and he heard a beautiful sound! It was much better than rain or kitchen sounds or crowds or trains. It sounded beautiful and it made the room feel like it was suddenly filled with light.

It was the man with the violin!

The radio announcer said that the man was “one of the finest musicians in the world.” His name was Joshua Bell and he played his instrument in the subway — though not many people noticed.

But Dylan did. He noticed, and the music made him happy…

Yes, there is a real Joshua Bell, a violin virtuoso from Indiana who participated in an “experiment” in early 2007. What happened offers a subtle message for adults: take the time to see the world as your kids see it.

Your children might not catch that message, though, and that’s OK. Stinson and Petricic have plenty in this book for them, including illustrations that practically put a song on each page. I was totally captivated by those drawings, done in black-and-white with splashes of color to underscore what happens to little Dylan and his world.

This is the perfect book for curious kids, and for 3-to-7-year-olds who love music. Read “The Man with the Violin,” because it’s a book they’ll want to see.

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