Title: The Dance of the Violin
Author: Kathy Stinson
Genre: Children’s Fiction, Music
As a young student of the violin, Joshua Bell learns about an international competition to be held in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He chooses a piece of music, which his teacher suggests may be too difficult, but Joshua is determined. It’s a piece of music he loves. At the competition, Joshua experiences the usual jitters. Once his name is called, he strides to the stage and begins to play, but almost immediately, he makes a mistake. As he is about to walk off the stage, he asks the judges if could try again. They agree, and this time, the playing is impeccable. Dušan Petricic’s brilliant illustrations full of movement and color, capture the sounds made by Joshua’s violin, from the missed notes to the swirling, uplifting strains of the perfectly executed piece. Children will readily empathize with Joshua’s misstep, but they will also learn that there is always a second chance.
“When I learned how 12-year-old Joshua Bell dealt with failure at a competition he’d prepared hard for, I knew it was a story that would inspire anyone, young or not so young, who has dared, or might dare, to try doing something difficult.” — KS (author)
Joshua Bell loves music and he takes anything he finds around the house and creates music. He’s also learning to play the violin. When he learns of a competition, he chooses a composition many feel is above his head. Does that stop him? No way! When he walks on stage and begins, he makes a mistake. Swallowing hard, he asks the judges if he can try again. Will he embrace his inner musician or will his performance be an utter failure?
Based on the real-life story of Violinist Joshua Bell, The Dance of the Violin is beautiful. Failure is something that all of us can relate to, especially children. Learning a new instrument, especially a violin, can be tricky but when you have a musical heart, it’s a matter of letting the music take over.
This inspirational story of persevering touched me deeply, as much as the colourful illustrations did. There’s a musical lilt to the illustrations that pair wonderfully with the words to create a masterpiece. I highly recommend this book, especially for those who love music.
Disclaimer: I received an ARC from Annick Press Ltd. Via Netgalley in the hopes I’d review it.
My Rating: 5 stars
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Kathy Stinson, author of internationally acclaimed Canadian children’s classic, Red is Best, also writes novels, short stories, and nonfiction for young people of all ages.
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Reviewed by: Mrs. N