The Dance of the Violin

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 09 Jan 2018

Member Reviews

If you're not already familiar with violinist Joshua Bell, but think his name sounds familiar, it might be because of an interesting experiment he participated in about ten years ago, which involved playing his $3.5 million violin in a crowded subway station to see how many people would stop and listen. For more info, search the Washington Post for their article "Pearls before Breakfast."

But that's not what this book is about -- The Dance of the Violin is about Joshua as a young boy, and the story focuses on his decision to play a very difficult piece of music in a competition when he was twelve years old.

What I really like about this story is that it involves him making a mistake, but then stopping and asking to start again. It doesn't focus on "who wins" or on doing everything perfectly (though additional information about the context of this event is given at the end of the book). 

I was really inspired as I read about Joshua deciding to try again after his mistake. As a perfectionist, I know how easy it is to fall into the trap of thinking I'm better off not doing something than risking a failure (even a small one). Joshua's attitude is commendable and a great example of taking pride and joy in one's efforts (and delighting in music itself) rather than aiming solely for a win -- and that one flub obviously hasn't stopped him from having a wonderful career since then! 

(Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy.)
Was this review helpful?
The Dance of the Violin is a beautiful story about the classical violinist Joshua Bell. I related to this story: my son currently in cello, and seeing the music in his head as he plays, I can imagine if he read this book it would be similar to Joshuas experience.

The illustrations are gorgeous, and tell a succinct story from beginning to end. 

This is a beautiful non-fiction book for early readers. I highly recommend. One of my favorite picture book biographies.
Was this review helpful?
Kindle Unlimited suggested The Tracker as a book I might enjoy - and I did.  I thought Sam was a likeable character: he's a modern-day Horatio Alger hero who has faced hardship and poverty but was fighting for a life other than what he had. From the beginning, the plot grabs you with who, what, why? On just the aspect of the political/lawyer thriller, the plot is good and has some unseen twists and turns. On top of that, Zunker does quite a bit of character building with flashbacks to Sam's childhood and youth. While this book isn't marketed as a faith-based book there are elements of Christianity in the story that I also enjoyed; Zunker added this element in a genuine, raw, grace-filled way instead of as extra fluff or sugary sweetness. I knew that there was the potential for the book to launch a series and that I wanted to see how faith would continue to impact Sam as he grew into adulthood.
When I saw the sequel, Shadow Shepherd, appear on NetGalley, I quickly requested it and was happy to not have to wait any longer to catch up with Sam. With this book, Zunker switches from first person to third person. I tend to enjoy first person less but it didn't drive me crazy like many do. It definitely worked in the first book to show how quickly Sam was having to act and react as the story unfolded. The move to third person added more detail and depth as the story unfolded. It was a nice shift but it does give a slightly different experience as a reader: instead of knowing just a little, you have a broader view. All that to say, I enjoyed the second book as well. The mystery of this book felt a little more disconnected and then suddenly it was the end. I felt a little cheated by the resolution, although I do understand that it's not so much an ending as a pause to transition to the next book. What I really loved about Shadow Shepherd was seeing Sam working as a lawyer and how his relationships with the people in his life are growing/changing/ending. I can't wait to know what's next for Sam and how he is going to continue to grow and face the challenges that are sure to come.
Was this review helpful?
as an individual who practiced the violin at a young age, i was drawn to this book. it’s a beautifully illustrated story with a great message of perseverance. the ending did feel abrupt, however, i loved the lesson which was taught. definitely recommended to any music lover who would love to encourage the love of music in their child as well.
Was this review helpful?
An absolutely breathtaking book! It is about a boy Joshua who falls in love with the music of violin and the dance he has with the symphony it plays. This novel talked about not giving up and pursue your dreams, falling in love with music, doing things with the passion you feel with them and so much more. The innocence part of the story makes it so touching. it makes me feel like I should pick up my piano lessons I had forgone for my studies. The illustrations truly depicted Joshua's excitements, fears and love that he had throughout the novel.
Was this review helpful?
The Dance of the Violin is an utterly charming book.  The illustrator deftly brings to life music exuding from young Joshua Bell, who is today a world renown violinist. As a reader you are vicariously taken on a journey experiencing a young virtuoso's love and passion for music, determined to let music soar through him despite any mishaps.
Was this review helpful?
This is a beautiful story! I will definitely be purchasing it for my libraries!
Was this review helpful?
I look forward to sharing this book with young musicians such as my niece and nephew.  They will enjoy learning about Joshua Bell as a youngster, appreciate learning that he, too, makes mistakes, and identify with his passion for music.
Was this review helpful?
I chose this simply on the title, as a violist myself.  So I was delighted halfway through to realize this is based on the childhood of renowned violinist, Joshua Bell!  This was such a great story for children in general, but definitely for those pursuing music - that hard work and practice pays off, that if you make a mistake just keep going, and especially about the magical quality playing music can have.  I loved the charming illustrations, in particular the colorful way they interpreted the music (rather than the old standby of just showing notes).  Bravo!
Was this review helpful?
I can't wait to purchase this book! The theme of playing for joy and love as opposed to perfection pairs so wonderfully with the idea that mistakes are okay and make us better people. This book would be an excellent picture book to kick start a genius hour class. Thankfully passion doesn't need to equal perfection. Gorgeous book. I also really enjoyed the endnotes where the true  story of Joshua Bell was told.
Was this review helpful?
I thought this was a really cute book with a really great message for kids.
Was this review helpful?
This is a lovely creative read. The illustrations accompany the prose beautifully and it's true story quality adds to a great discussion once finished. I really enjoyed this book. There are some musical terms included, which may require an explanation for younger readers but the similies included make the ideas accessible and visual for younger ones. 

There are questions at the end to further the understanding of the story and the main character who is based on a real musician and situation. 

I would certainly recommend this as it is a story of perseverance and passion.
Was this review helpful?
An emotional tale of perseverance, second chances and never giving up on your dreams. A great story that will add value to the reader. The images were delightful and beautifully captured emotion and music.
Was this review helpful?
~Disclaimer~
 I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review. 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Joshua loved playing music. At a young age his parents bought him a violin. One day he learns of a competition and the price is playing with an orchestra. He must compete. He chooses a very difficult song that even his teacher thinks may be too hard for him. But he loves it so much that he practices, and practices, and practices. He was very nervous for the competition. When it was his turn to preform he makes a mistake and almost leaves to stage. Instead he asks the judge if he could start over and he says "all right". He plays better than ever before. 
I think that this is a good book for children to read. It teaches them that everyone makes mistakes and you always have a second chance. Even after messing up Aiden had the courage to stay on stage and try again. I enjoyed how every time the violin was played streams of colour filled the page. I recommend this book to any child especially those who have a hard time with making mistakes.

5/5 ⭐
Was this review helpful?
This is a charming book about persistence, imagination and taking risks. This was a really delightful story that incorporated imagination with music, conjuring up ideas about what the music represented to Joshua. The illustrations captured the emotions and power of music. I really enjoyed how the imagery of Joshua's imagination, what he felt when he played or what he saw when he heard music, was shown in the beautiful illustrations.
Was this review helpful?
Classical violinist Joshua Bell enters a competition at only 12 years old. Will he be able to master the difficult piece? I love the way music is illustrated and the message of enjoying yourself and doing your best rather than trying to be perfect.
Was this review helpful?
I loved this cute little book with the character of Joshua Bell, the famous violinist. Great message for children. My children love music and they found this quite fun to read. The pictures are sweet too. We love this author's book, Red is Best, and this one was also a big hit.
Was this review helpful?
'The Dance of the Violin' by Kathy Stinson with illustrations by Dušan Petričić is a read aloud story adapted from the life of famed violin player Joshua Bell.

The story starts with a young Joshua who loved making all kinds of music on all kinds of things, like cardboard tubes and bicycle bells.  When his parents bought him a violin, the journey began.  I love the image of a star over the young child's head representing learning the song 'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.'  When he gets older, he learns of a violin competition, and he has to go.  He also decides to play a piece of music that his teacher cautions against.  What will happen at the competition?

The illustrations are so fun in this book.  The lines that come off of the violin and represent the music are really great.  I liked the F.A.Q. answering questions I had about the story.  It's a pretty cute story, and might inspire young musicians to pursue something they might enjoy.

I received a review copy of this ebook from Annick Press Ltd. and NetGalley in exchange for an honest reivew.  Thank you for allowing me to review this ebook.
Was this review helpful?
Every young performer has a moment when they make a mistake, when they freeze.  Kathy Stinson captures that moment - and the ones that follow when a young violinist makes a mistake in a big competition.  Adults will recognize the violinist's name  Joshua Bell; young readers will recognize the embarrassment and will cheer for the young musician who recovers and starts over to play better than he ever has.  Highly recommended.
Was this review helpful?
I thought this book might be better, but I was disappointed with the story.  I thought that it was too obvious in sending its message.
Was this review helpful?