Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Stop and listen.....soak in the beauty around you

          Quote of the day:  " We read to know we are not alone."
                                            - C. S. Lewis

Title:  The Man With the Violin
Autor: Kathy Stinson
Illustrator: Dusan Petricic
Ages:  5-8

This book is based upon a true story.  This book makes you stop and think about how you conduct your life and if you are missing out on the beauty and solace that is all around you because you are always busy and on the go.  Dylan, the  adorable main character of the book, was with his mom going to the subway when he heard the most beautiful, heavenly music that he had ever heard.  He looked around and his eyes locked with the common-looking man, wearing a baseball cap, who was producing that melodious music from his violin.  He so wanted to stay and listen but his mom was in a hurry, (as most adults are) and she tugged on him to keep moving or they would miss their train.  All day long that music swirled around in his head and made him lightheaded and very happy.  When they finally got home that night, and mom was preparing dinner, that same glorious music that he had heard earlier that day floated out from his radio and totally filled their apartment.  The radio announcer identified the man who had played so exquisitely in the subway as one of the best violinists in the world. Dylan could not believe his ears and he quickly got his mom's attention. He was so excited and said to her, "See we should have stopped to listen."  Realizing her faux pas she grabbed her little boy and together they were swept off their feet as they danced and appreciated the glorious music that was playing from that man's precious Stradivarious on the radio right into their hearts.  The artwork in this book is stunning.  The illustrator made perfect choices to depict the fluidity and flow of the music and contrasted it to the chaos and noise that usually surrounds us on a daily basis. I highly recommend it.

About the author:

The clue that Kathy Stinson has enjoyed a lifelong love of reading is in the wide range of books she has written. Picture books, non-fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, horror, biography, series books, stories in anthologies and magazines! The author of the classic Red Is Best has written them all!
“What you read,” she says, “influences what you write. And so does the day to day life that you live.” That’s why Kathy’s characters ride bikes along dirt paths, fall in love in summer, argue and have cozy chats with parents and friends, sometimes have trouble sleeping, and walk on beaches and city streets.
Kathy says, “It’s also fun, as a writer, to imagine yourself into situations unlike your own.” That’s what she did when she wrote about Marie-Claire living through a smallpox epidemic in Montreal in 1885, and Mr. Elliot deciding as a grandfather that it was time he learned to read. (Kathy herself grew up in a west-end suburb of Toronto in the 1950s and 60s and was lucky enough to learn to read before she started school.)
In addition to writing her own books, Kathy works as a freelance editor for a number of publishers. Editing projects have included fiction for children, young adult and adult audiences, picture books, and non-fiction. She has served as Writer-in-Residence for several library systems and has led writing workshops all across Canada and in Africa. And she is a regular volunteer reader and technician at the CNIB Recording Studio in Toronto.

The mother of two grown children who inspired some of her earliest books, Kathy also has two grown stepdaughters and five grandchildren. They all know that at birthdays and at Christmas, odds are good that their presents will be books. Kathy currently lives in Rockwood, Ontario with her partner, Peter Carver, and their dog Keisha.
 About the illustrator:

Dušan Petričić

Dušan Petričić was born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, but loved to pretend that he grew up in Zemun, an old city located just across the river (and now a part of Belgrade). As a boy he did all the forbidden things that children do, but what Dušan loved most was to draw.
He started drawing at age four and, encouraged by his parents, he never stopped. He found inspiration in everything, and drawing became a way to communicate with the people around him. Two books that were very important to his childhood were an old encyclopedia with lots of pictures and The Boys from Pavel’s Street by Ferenc Molnár. Early on, he was moved by the drawings found within the encyclopedia. As he grew older, he adored many artists, including Leonardo da Vinci, Dürer, and Picasso.
Dušan has been illustrating children’s books for many years. He has received numerous honors and awards for his work, in North America and internationally, including an IBBY Certificate of Honour and an Alberta Book Award for On Tumbledown Hill (Red Deer Press). The Longitude Prize (FSG) was selected as a Robert F. Siebert Honor Book for a Distinguished Informative Book for Children in the US. His beautiful, evocative illustrations forMattland (2009) by Hazel Hutchins and Gail Herbert garnered Dušan the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award from the Canadian Library Association as well as the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award. His illustrations for Better Together (2011) by Sheryl and Simon Shapiro were described as “sublime” by Kirkus Reviews.
When it came time to reissue Robert Munsch’s Mud Puddle (2012), Dušan was Annick’s first choice to reillustrate the classic. The results are a fresh and energetic look that will delight a whole new generation of young Munsch fans.
Dušan’s latest book, The Man with the Violin (2013), was greeted with rave reviews, including starred reviews in Kirkus and Quill & Quire. Written by Kathy Stinson, this beautifully evocative picture book tells the true story of world-renowned violinist, Joshua Bell, who conducted an experiment by anonymously playing his priceless violin in the Washington D.C. subway station. 
Luckily for Dušan, his profession is his favorite hobby and he is happy when at work. To young artists he would give this advice: “Think, think, think, think, draw!”
Dušan lives in Toronto where he is a regular contributor as an editorial cartoonist in the Toronto Star.

About the musician:

Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

4 minutes later:

The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes:

A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

10 minutes:

A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children.. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly..

45 minutes:

The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

1 hour:

He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.
No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.
This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities.

The questions raised:

*In a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?
*Do we stop to appreciate it?
*Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made.

How many other things are we missing?

*taken from www.jeffbridges.com - perception....something to think about
Little discrepancy in numbers but you get the idea.....

Book Review Rating:  8 (Fantastic!)

Read on and read always!  Have a super day!

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