A Stradivarius on the subway? This Canadian import tells the story of violinist Joshua Bell’s quirky experiment.
An imposing woman in a fur coat and matching hat pulls a little boy down the street behind her. “Dylan was someone who noticed things. His mom was someone who didn’t.” The colors in the street scene behind them are muted grays, except for a thick stripe running across the page to the back of Dylan’s head. Brightly colored objects against a white background fill it. Mom has a stripe as well, of blank white. In the crowded train station, Dylan hears music; its swirls of color wend through the scene. Dylan follows the sound to a man in a blue baseball cap, energetically playing the violin. Mom pulls him away, but the power of the music lingers in his mind. Later, at home, he’s amazed to hear the violinist on the radio. An announcer explains that famed violinist Joshua Bell played in the subway today, yet “few people listened for even a minute.” Dylan runs to show Mom how deeply the music has affected him. He soars around the room in curly colored waves, riding the music. Then they listen together, and they dance! Bell himself recalls the incident that inspired the book in a postscript.
Imaginatively illustrated and beautifully written, this offbeat ode to the power of music is a winner. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-9)