Children’s Book Reviews
Children's Book Reviews: The Dance of the Violin
Publish June 27, 2017
In The Man with the Violin (2013), award-winning author Kathy Stinson creates a fictionalized account of the famed virtuoso violinist who performs anonymously in a Washington, D.C. subway station. The Dance of the Violin is the prequel to that story with an inspiring look at Joshua Bell’s childhood and his passion for music. When Joshua’s parents buy him a violin, a melodic world of creative expression and opportunity opens up. At the age of 12, despite being a violin beginner, Joshua enters a tough competition for the chance of playing with an orchestra. His music teacher tries to dissuade him from choosing a complicated composition, but Joshua’s determination wins out. When the time comes to stand in front of the adjudicator, the child’s nerves take over, and his recital falls flat. Mustering all of his courage, Joshua asks for the chance to start over, and lets his musicality shine.
Dušan Petričić’s ink and watercolour illustrations are full of emotion and exuberant movement. Music appears on the pages as colourful, fluid lines that swirl in the air, and sometimes take the shape of dancers spinning across a stage. When Joshua flubs his solo, his shoulders slump and his “insides felt the way his violin sounded if the strings were tuned too tight.” Readers will cheer for Joshua and applaud his resolve, perseverance, and intrinsic love of music. The Dance of the Violin is a picture book that hits all the right notes.
Linda Ludke is a librarian at London Public Library. Her reviews have appeared in Quill and Quire, School Library Journal and CM: Canadian Review of Materials. When she’s not reading and writing she also loves searching for vintage treasures.
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