Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Man with the Violin” as Want to Read:
The Man with the Violin
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Man with the Violin

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  642 ratings  ·  189 reviews
Who is playing that beautiful music in the subway? And why is nobody listening? This gorgeous picture book is based on the true story of Joshua Bell, the renowned American violinist who famously took his instrument down into the Washington D.C. subway for a free concert. More than a thousand commuters rushed by him, but only seven stopped to listen for more than a minute. ...more
Hardcover, 36 pages
Published September 1st 2013 by Annick Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Man with the Violin, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Man with the Violin

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  642 ratings  ·  189 reviews

More filters
Sort order
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Both important and engaging. The art isn't 'pretty' but it's a wonderful fit for the text and theme. Well-done. It would make a great gift to a classroom or music teacher.
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I finished reading this book and immediately started to cry. Music has always been such an important part of my life and to think that such a brilliant musician like Joshua Bell went unnoticed by so many people makes me wonder about all the other beauty we're missing in life because we're in too much of a hurry. I'm fairly certain I would not have been one of the 1,000 people to pass by his beautiful violin playing in the DC metro station that day because music moves me so deeply, but that doesn ...more
Apr 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I love what Kathy Stinson and Dusan Petrici have done with this story. The illustrations are wonderful and the story's perspective is perfect for a picture book. I love how the little boy in the story notices things and his mother doesn't. The illustration depicting this is great, a variety of things in the boy's line of vision pop with color as he notices them and the mother's line of vision through the path where they've come has been completely erased, it’s totally white.

On a day like any ot
Sep 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One morning, Dylan and his mother rush through the train station as they do most mornings. Dylan hears the most amazing sound as they approach the station. The notes swirl and envelope him, he can't get enough of it but his mother is pulling him further into the station to the train. The music stays with Dylan all day.

Later on the radio, Dylan hears about a famous musician who played one of the most valuable violins ever made in a train station and he's transformed back to how he felt that morn
Carrie Gelson
LOVE, love, love and love some more - This book fast shot to the top of my favourite lists for 2013. WOW! The first page spread is divine. It was a 5/5 book just because of those two sentences and the illustration. And then it just continued to get better. Find, read and treasure this title.
Mar 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Children’s picture books are one of my reading indulgences. I really enjoy the artwork and the great life messages and reminders they contain. Most books are very short and they always provide a quick pick me up after reading a number of more serious books.

I happened upon an article about The Man with the Violin with words by Kathy Stinson and illustrations by Dušan Petričić. Stinson is a Canadian writer and Petričić is a Serbian illustrator and cartoonist born in the former Yugoslavia who lived
Aug 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
It is hard in this day and age to be "present in the moment." This picture book (based on a social experiment) captures the hustle and bustle of life pushing us past the glory of art.

Once upon a time, violinist Joshua Bell stood in a subway station and played one of the most valuable violins in the world. Very few stopped to listen. Yet Bell claims (in his postscript) that it was the children who noticed and strained to see and hear.

That is where this picture book focuses. Dylan is a child who
Jacquelin Devlin
Mar 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is based on the true story of Joshua Bell, one of the country's finest musicians, going largely unnoticed as he played his Stradivarius in DC's Metro subway station. Not even some of the world's most beautiful music caught the attention of most passing adults. Who lingered? Who wanted to listen? Mostly children, who were dragged away by busy parents. In the case of this picture book, only one boy, Dylan, was entranced.
The book ends positively when Dylan finally convinces Mom to slow d
Vikki VanSickle
Based on the true story of the day world-class violinist Joshua Bell played in the Washington subway only to be basically ignored by millions of travellers, this lovely book celebrates a child's innate ability to notice things. As adults we get carried away with our schedules, busyness, and often forget to stop and smell the roses. Or stop and hear the world class violinist, as is the case in this story. We could all learn from Dylan and his ability to notice things. This book has won many award ...more
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
In response to a world that is constantly on the go and in an endless hurry to get somewhere else, slowing down and enjoying the present moment has become a reoccurring theme in children's picture books. With recent releases like Wait by Antoinette Portis, Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson, and Waiting by Kevin Henkes, this trend has become especially noticeable in the past year. The most recent book that I read with this theme is The Man with the Violin. In this award-winning book, Kathy Stin ...more
Tina Andrade
Oct 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: libs-642
Stinson, K. (2013). The man with the violin. [TumbleBook edition]. Retrieved from

-Eric Hoffer Award
-Digital Book Award
-National Parenting Publications Award
-2014 Storytelling World Honor Book
-Best Book List, Kirkus Reviews
-Best Bets List, Honourable Mention, Ontario Library Association
-2014 Notable Book for a Global Society
-Best Books for Kids & Teens 2014, Canadian Children’s Book Centre
-2014 Independent Publisher Book Award, Gold
-2014 Next Generation Indie Book Award
Apr 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
The story of Joshua Bell's performance in the subway is one that repeatedly makes it way around Facebook and other social media sites. It is a true story, and one that serves to remind us to take a moment every once in a while, to really appreciate the world around us. Common cliches, such as "Stop and smell the roses" pop into my mind whenever I read about this story. It's something that we often forget to do as adults, as we feel the pressure to move from Point A to Point B, to hurry, hurry, H ...more
Wendy Nelson
The Man with the Violin

Stinson, K., & Petričić, D. (2013.) The man with the violin. Toronto: Annick Press. (Viewed as Tumblebook from Library of Virginia at )

Kirkus Starred Review

Category: Tumblebooks

Many of us have seen the viral video of acclaimed young violinist Joshua Bell playing anonymously in the D.C. subway. Sadly, a thousand people pass by and few stop to listen, despite the fact that Bell is a virtuoso who regularly plays in the most elite c
Mar 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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 melodi ...more
:Donna Marie
THE MAN WITH THE VIOLIN Young Dylan is a boy who soaks in the world around him. He notices pretty much everything. His mother, much like a horse with blinders, notices little--if anything. One day as they hurried through the train station, the sound of violin music captivated him. He felt the song's notes. He wanted to linger, and though his mother and the train wooshed him away, it was the music that lingered in his mind all day.

Kathy Stinson wrote poignant "notes," along with Dusan Petricic'
Oct 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In this 2013 picture book publication about a 2007 event, we learn about the day when the violinist Joshua Bell played in a Washington DC subway. The author, Kathy Stinson has written a charming historical fiction book about a boy named Dylan who notices the violinist and stops to enjoy the music. His mom did not have time to stop long for the beautiful yet sad music that fills the boy with awe. Later in the day, when they return home, Dylan hears the same violin music from the radio. He soars w ...more
Ana Calabresi
I remember to have seen the news of Joshua Bell playing violin disguised as a street artist in Washington D.C. in 2007. This is the background for this picture book and we see it through the eyes of a fictitious child, who is mesmerized by the beautiful sound that came from the violin in the metro station. Sadly, many people just passed by without paying too much attention to the artist. Bell reports in the postscript that many children did indeed stop – or tried to – to listen to the music.

Bethley Giles
Oct 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Stinson, K. (2013). The man with the violin. [TumbleBook edition]. Retrieved from


The Man with the Violin is a fictionalized account of a recent incident in which Joshua Bell, a world-renowned violinist played his violin in a crowded subway and was ignored by those who heard him. In the story, the young boy, Dylan, who wants to stop and listen to the music but is pulled along by his mother, who does not want to take the time for music. The tumblebooks edition included
Music flows from page to page in wispy swirls of colour, entrancing the young boy, Dylan. While he strains to hear it, the rest of the busy world rushes past this wondrous sound, leaving in its wake a set of harsh noises.

Black, angular shapes representing the raucous city life, contrast with the colourful, flowing lines that come from the violinist. Graceful descriptions seek to capture the essence of this melodious sound, as well as the impact it has on the boy. These words sing in our ears, u
A young boy wants to stop to listen to a world-renowned violinist in disguise who is playing in the subway, but his mother hurries him along. Only later, when they learn that they passed a world-class musician does the boy's mother acknowledge she was in error. The book is based on an experiment in which Joshua Bell took his Stradivarius to play in a Washington DC underground station. Only seven stopped to listen.
In an afterward, Joshua Bell (who had been a child prodigy) notes: "Music requires
Cara Wilson
Mar 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Man With the Violin by Kathy Stinson
Cara W., Spring 2015

“The Man With the Violin” is a book that will delight the younger generations as well as the older. It is a very simple book that takes you on a journey through Washington, D.C.’s subway system where a mysterious man plays upon his violin. This story is based off of violinist Joshua Bell and his “incognito” violin recital in 2007.

This book has a wonderful lesson and teaches children and adults alike to learn to appreciate the music. Th
Amy Rae
Feb 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Beautiful illustrations accompany a slight story about the day Joshua Bell played in a subway station and nobody listened.

It was a fine enough book--I don't really like reading a million sound effects aloud, but that's just me--but I would have liked to see it investigate just a little more the idea of busking and why people might think there wasn't any reason to pay attention to a street musician.

The art is really where this one shines. Dušan Petričić evokes sound through image, from the unple
Mackenzie Beals
May 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ed-689
The Man with the Violin is a Notable Book for a Global Society Award winner. Kathy Stinson tells the story of a boy named Dylan who notices everything around him. One day he is at the metro station with his mom and he hears a violinist playing. He wants to stop and listen, but his mom and everyone else at the metro station was too busy to notice. This book is based on a true story. Joshua Bell is a famous violinist and was participating in an experiment to see how many people would stop and list ...more
Jenny Boyce
Mar 23, 2014 rated it liked it
This is such an interesting book and the pictures were marvelous. I just felt that at the end I was dissatisfied. I think it's because the child wasn't able to stop and listen to the musician and despite dancing around the room with his mother, there wasn't really any closure.

I also didn't think the writing in this book was that great. The words didn't really flow together in a way that is expected in children's books. The story/writing felt choppy and difficult to read.

In the end I would recom
Stella Fowler
Apr 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes...well, really most times... adults don't notice the wonders of the world around them. Because of this, we miss the best things. Not only does this book encourage children to wonder at the world around them, but it also reminds adults to look around, too.

If you do pay attention while reading the book, you'll notice that the color dances around people like music. You'll notice that maybe even though Dylan is the only one wanting to stop, there might be some adults who are touched by the
The Man with the Violin is a story by Kathy Stinson based on a real event in which a world renowned violinist played his violin in D.C.'s metro on January 12, 2007. The young boy in the story wanted to stop and listen to Joshua play his violin but his mom couldn't/wouldn't take the time. I heard about this book when I listened to a talk show on CBC radio (Canada). The story is thought provoking and wonderfully told and the illustrations add to the book's appeal. Swirls of colour which represent ...more
Jillian Heise
Sep 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
A fabulously and creatively illustrated picture book (using color to emphasize the story) telling the story of an intriguing event. One can only hope, as they read this story and the author's note at the end, that they might have been one of the few who would have stopped, or allowed a child to stop, and appreciate the beauty of the music that day. A story I will share with students to promote thoughtfulness about rushing through the world and the need to stop and appreciate things around us.
Aug 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
This book is a children's picture book, but one that should be read by parents as well. It is based on a true story of Joshua Bell, the famed violist and his mini concert in the L'Enfant Plaza Metro Station in Washington DC where very few listened but the children.
Emily Scheinman
Sep 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What a beautifully illustrated story. I had the wonderful opportunity to hear Joshua Bell play at a conference a few years ago and he recounted the story of playing at the subway anonymously. A great story to share
Edward Sullivan
Jul 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books, music
A young boy is the only who notices the music a man is making on a violin in a busy subway station. A story upon the real-life event of musician Joshua Bell's concert in a Washington, D.C. metro station that only a handful people stopped to listen.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Once Upon a Northern Night
  • Ada's Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay
  • Ketzel, the Cat Who Composed
  • How To
  • Herman and Rosie
  • The Bear's Song
  • Loula Is Leaving for Africa
  • The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra: The Sound of Joy is Enlightening
  • Mr. Flux
  • When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop
  • Super Hair-o and the Barber of Doom
  • Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin
  • The First Drawing
  • The Mighty Lalouche
  • My Blue Is Happy
  • Bluebird
  • The Very Inappropriate Word
  • Mr. Zinger's Hat
See similar books…
Kathy Stinson, author of internationally acclaimed Canadian children's classic, Red is Best and the TD Award Winner, The Man with the Violin, also writes novels, short stories, and nonfiction for young people of all ages.