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.
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!
This just in: Erik at This Kid Reviews Books has just informed me that today is Mozart’s birthday! How fortuitous. Erik’s got another musical book review, so be sure to hop over there to keep the celebration going!
Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin
Written by: Lloyd Moss
Illustrated by: Marjorie Priceman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (March 1995)
Award: A Caldecott Honor book
Genre: Picture Book/Fiction
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.
Links to Resources:
- Think Bright provides a comprehensive list of multimedia activities, lessons, and links to many Reading Rainbow resources.
- Eduscapes Library has a long list of links to activities and teaching resources across the curriculum.
- Bright Hub Education has put together a classical music lesson plan.
- Learngen.org provides a 4-day unit plan.
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.
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.
Here’s a look at the book from New Hampshire Public Television’s Caldecott Literature Series.
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.