Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin by Lloyd Moss, Marjorie Priceman

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin

Music has been a part of my life since I was born. My father had a wonderful tenor voice, and when he wasn’t bursting into song around the house, he was singing with his barbershop chorus, sparkly blue tux and all. My older brother played trombone and guitar; I played the clarinet and a (very) little bit of alto sax and oboe; my younger brother plays guitar. Then I sang in the chorus all through school, then a couple years with the Oratorio Society of New York, then in musicals, and now with the choral group in my town in Italy. Reading music has always been as natural as reading words.

Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall, NYC

Besides the musicals, which of course I ADORED acting in or directing, my fondest musical memory is singing with the Oratorio Society, because we had our concerts in Carnegie Hall. There we were, two hundred strong, plus a full orchestra, amazing soloists, and a packed house, singing Mozart, Handel, Beethoven, the Carmina Burana. The first time I walked on that stage, I just grinned from ear to ear. What a rush to be standing there, where some of the most prestigious musicians in the world had played!

Sadly, I wasn’t one of them. But the fact that even this middling soprano had that opportunity was such a gift — a gift I would never have received had I not been exposed from a young age to the wonders of music performance.

So here’s to Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin, a vibrant, soaring book that I hope spawns generation after generation of glorious band nerds!

The Goods

Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin

Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin by Lloyd Moss and Marjorie Priceman
Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin by Lloyd Moss and Marjorie Priceman

Written by: Lloyd Moss
Illustrated by:  Marjorie Priceman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (March 1995)
Award: A Caldecott Honor book
Genre: Picture Book/Fiction
Ages: 4+
Themes/Topics: Music, Musical Instruments, Orchestras, Counting

Opening and Brief Synopsis:

With mournful moan and silken tone,
Itself alone comes ONE TROMBONE.
Gliding, sliding, high notes go low; 
ONE TROMBONE is playing SOLO. 

One by one, other musical instruments join the lone trombone until they’ve formed a “chamber group of ten” and…

The STRINGS all soar, the REEDS implore,
The BRASSES roar with notes galore.
It’s music that we all adore.
It’s what we go to concerts for. 

Why I Like This Book: Look at these illustrations! The flowing lines of Priceman’s delightfully eccentric musicians — as well as the undulating layout of the text — actually dance you through the book to a rhymed-couplet soundtrack of mournful moans, swinging songs, breezy notes, and flutes that send our souls a-shiver.

Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin by Lloyd Moss and Marjorie Priceman
Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin by Lloyd Moss and Marjorie Priceman

Although the book gently teaches counting and the names of musical instruments, Zin! Zin! really shines as a prelude to music appreciation. It’s full of rhythm and passion and excitement, making you want to grab the nearest paper towel roll and start tooting your way to Carnegie Hall.

Perfect Picture Book Fridays is a shared weekly event started by children’s author Susanna Leonard Hill. You can find the entire list of recommended picture books on the Perfect Picture Books page on her blog.