Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

The Man With the Violin

Stinson, Kathy (Author)
Petričić, Dušan (Illustrator)
Annick Press 2013. 36 pages
First published: 2013
ISBN: 9781554515653 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, point of view, setting

Awards

Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award – Finalist – 2014
TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award – 2014
The Forest of Reading – The Blue Spruce Award Nominee – 2015

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Inspired by a social experiment involving world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell, this story is about a little boy who is rushed through a crowded train station by his mother.

A busker’s beautiful music is of no interest to the busy mom, but it is a rainbow swirl to Dylan’s eager ears, as he descends the escalator: “down, down, down, and away.”

Image and language work beautifully together, emphasizing the message to slow down and pay attention. In one spread, the rushing pair leave streams of light behind them. Young Dylan’s stream is studded with items of interest from the muted background they are passing. In contrast, his mother’s stream wipes the background blank: “Dylan was someone who noticed things. His mom was someone who didn’t.”

Later, Dylan’s perspective is vindicated, as his apartment fills with the same music, pouring from the radio. The busker, it turns out, is a famous violinist. Mom finally stops and listens.

Back material includes a fascinating author’s note, a brief biography and a message from Joshua Bell, as well as Internet links to his music.

  •  

    Listen to music played by Joshua Bell. How does it make you feel? For each melody, brainstorm words to describe the emotions he elicits.

  •  

    Discuss how the illustrations help you understand Dylan. How did the illustrator do this (e.g. use of colour)?

  •  

    Can you relate to Dylan’s desire to stay and listen? Have you ever been in a similar situation? Have you ever stopped and listened to buskers? 

  •  

    Read the postscript. Have you heard of any other social experiments? What do you think Joshua Bell hoped to accomplish?

  •  

    Define the idiom stop and smell the roses. Does it apply to this story? Write a letter to Dylan’s mom explaining this concept.

  •  

    How does the music of Joshua Bell make you feel? Do you prefer a particular piece? For each tune, brainstorm a list of words to describe the emotions he elicits.

  •  

    Discuss what the first page of the book represents. How do Dylan and his mother see things differently? 

  •  

    Make predictions after reading the second page: “a day like any other day until...”

  •  

    Discuss the lines and colours depicted in the book. How do they help you understand the story?

  •  

    Discuss how music can elicit different emotions and add to an ongoing anchor chart of emotions. How do different types of arts make you feel different emotions? 

  • To communicate appropriately
  • To construct his/her identity
  • To use creativity
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Health and Well-Being