Friday, April 29, 2022

Listen! It Might Be Joshua Bell!

Picture Book: The Man with the Violin

Author: Kathy Stinson

Illustrator: Dusan Petricic

Summary: Dylan and his mom hurry to the subway station. He is someone who notices things, but she does not. As they navigate the crowds, Dylan is struck by the sounds of a violinist. The music seems to be telling an exciting story! Then he hears “the saddest sound he has ever heard.” Dylan begs his mom to stop and listen, but she will not. He stretches their arms as long as possible to listen before they ride down the escalator. 

All day Dylan hears the music in his head! When he asks to return to the station, hoping the man will still be playing, Dylan’s mom asks, “What man?” That night, Dylan hears on the radio that the violinist he experienced is “one of the finest musicians in the world,” Joshua Bell, who played on “one of the most valuable violins ever made.” But still few people stopped to listen. Dylan now understands his strong response. He is swept up again, this time by the radio's recording of that morning’s music. AND this time, his mother listens and dances with him!

Hanna’s Comments: This book is a fictional story surrounding an actual event. Here is a link to a video of Joshua Bell’s performance in the Washington DC metro station on January 12, 2007. The book's last few pages have a bit about this event and Joshua Bell. The music Bell played that morning was a godly sound that Dylan couldn't forget. Talk about other kinds of godly sounds including other kinds of music and singing. Here are some possibilities: nature sounds, words of love, words that compel loving action, sounds that evoke positive memories, etc. Beforehand, contemplate godly sounds for yourself generally. Then you'll know what specific questions to prompt answers. 

Original Publisher: Annick Press, 2013

Age Appropriateness: 3 and up

Formats other than Book: Tablet

Scripture Connections: Eli told Samuel to return to bed and say, "Speak Lord, for your servant is listening. (1 Samuel 3:9); Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10); To answer before listening, that is folly and shame. (Proverbs 18:13); Jesus' transfiguration story in the 3 synoptic gospels (see next note);  Martha had a sister called Mary who sat at the Lord's feet listening. (Luke 10:39); Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. (James 1:19)

Connections to The Revised Common Lectionary: I listed this book in Trinity Treasures (my preschool curriculum based on the RCL & picture books) for 1 of the Transfiguration lessons. In that particular lesson, I focused on listening, because the disciples are instructed by God to listen to Jesus. 

PBT Applications: Read this book to tweens or teens and talk about godly sounds. If they will not respond well to a picture book, begin a story this way: Once there was a student who had to rush to school each morning.... They will all relate! Do give the author credit for the story. Show the video and then begin a discussion as described above in my comments.

If you are interested in learning more about my Trinity Treasures, a scripture based preschool Sunday school curriculum that features picture books & children’s Bibles, contact me at Right now, free lessons are emailed if you agree to fill out the monthly feedback form.

No comments:

Post a Comment