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Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin (Caldecott Honor Book) Hardcover – March 1, 1995

4.8 out of 5 stars 108 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"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." In this exuberant tribute to classical music and the passionate, eccentric musicians who play it, author Lloyd Moss begins with the mournful moan and silken tone of one trombone. A trumpet sings and stings along, forming a duo, then a fine French horn joins in, "TWO, now THREE-O, what a TRIO!" The mellow cello ups it to a quartet, then ZIN! ZIN! ZIN! a violin soars high and moves in to make a quintet. The flute that "sends our soul a-shiver" makes a sextet, and "with steely keys that softly click," a sleek, black, woody clarinet slips the group into a septet. We move on! A chamber group of ten! And the orchestra is ready to begin. Moss should be congratulated for creating a playful, musical stream of rhyming couplets that seamlessly, slyly teaches the names of myriad musical groups. Marjorie Priceman, the whimsical, masterful illustrator of Elsa Okon Rael's When Zaydeh Danced on Eldridge Street and Jack Prelutsky's For Laughing Out Loud, won a Caldecott Honor Award for this swirling, twirling, colorful musical world worthy of thunderous applause and a standing ovation. (Ages 4 to 8) --Karin Snelson

From Publishers Weekly

This debut book by author Moss, as kids today would say is boss. Its clever, jazzy verse presents (In language that is never dense) a helpful intro to each orchestra instrument-how some are alike but rather more are different. He starts with the trombone's "mournful moan," playing solo (i.e., alone); then adds a trumpet, French horn and cello-all sounding forth a signature "hello." Each musical portrait (in quatrains) abounds with perfectly chosen, alliterative sounds. Thus the flute, notes Moss, "sends our soul a-shiver; flute, that slender silver sliver." And Priceman's zany art's just right, with loose-limbed figures taking flight around each spread in garb bizarre, if proving how funky musicians are.With every new instrument joining the throng of diligent players practicing song, Moss incorporates numbers and stops only when his team finally reaches a "chamber group of ten." So the book can be used as a counting tool (A great way to perk up a dull day at school): but it really works best, it's easy to see, as a deft means of meeting the symphony. So a plentiful praise to this finely matched pair, whose pictures and words show unusual flair.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: AD730L (What's this?)
  • Series: Caldecott Honor Book
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; Ex-library edition (March 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671882392
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671882396
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.5 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #369,610 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Carol S. VINE VOICE on July 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I wish I could give this book 6 stars, because it is a truly wonderful book for preschoolers. One by one, the instruments in a classic orchestra are introduced, combining simple counting with music education. The text is in elegant rhyme, perfectly complemented by the bright, original & whimsical illustrations (make sure you pay attention to the "dance" performed by the cats, dog and mouse). A top-notch addition to a young child's library.
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Format: Hardcover
One musician after another begin to practice their instrument on the stage of the theater until ten musicians are playing their instruments, creating an orchestra of beautiful music that two cats, one mouse and one dog enjoy along with the audience. Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin has bright, award-winning illustrations and curved, rhyming text that teaches numbers, musical instruments and musical terms in an exciting way. The background colors of the pages change throughout the book. The vivid colors Moss uses are red, pink, orange, green, and yellow. Since the illustrations do not have any distinction between the floor and wall, when the focus is on one instrument, the other musicians and their instruments seem to float in the background. The appearance of them floating or flying creates excitement and movement in the story. The violinist's movements are described in the text as, "soaring high and moving in." Several of the musicians have curved arms or bodies, which contributes to motion and the playing of music. Also, this book is multicultural in that it includes Caucasians, an African American cellist and an Asian flutist. These all assemble together to form a ten- piece orchestra. Most of the text is printed in a curved or waved pattern and correlates with the curved illustrations and the sense of motion created by the musicians playing the instruments. Words such as "moan," "tone," "oiled," "coiled," "throbbing," "sobbing," and "gliding," "sliding" rhyme, and create a flowing pattern as they are read.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
Parents are all about infusing their children with a good jolt of "culture" while they're young. "Culture" can mean a lot of different things too. It can refer to theater, art, or even a full appreciation of orchestral performances. Now the standard method of getting kids interested in orchestras can be summed up in four words: Peter and the Wolf. For some people though, Peter just doesn't cut it. They want something a little more basic. A picture book, perhaps, that identifies different instruments in the orchestra in an amusing and (dare I say?) educational manner. Enter "Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin". A proud 1996 Caldecott Honor title, the book is a catchy flouncy bouncy exploration of different orchestral sounds and the people that make them possible.

In a lush orchestral hall, two cats and a mouse sit on an empty stage. Then, a single trombone enters, "With mournful moan and silken tone". He's followed by a trumpet who in turn is followed by a French horn, a cello, a violin, a flute, a clarinet, an oboe, a bassoon, and (finally) a harp. With everyone in place, and the conductor stationed before them, everyone plays together in perfect harmony. "It's the music that we all adore. It's what we go to concerts for". Each separate instrument has its own personality and poem. The oboe sobs and the bassoon makes everyone laugh. Lines like, "With steely keys that softly click / Its breezy notes so darkly slick / A sleek, black, woody clarinet / Is number seven - now septet". As you can see, by reading this book kids learn not only what certain instruments look like, but also what groups of people between the numbers of one to nine (solo to nonet) are called.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Good introduction to various orchestra music instruments for young children. The rhyme is cute, though sometimes may seem forced, it doesn't "baby" down the language even for the younger crowd - the vocabulary level is challenging and not typical without being out of reach (e.g. "encore" and "octet"). Text is not too long or verbose so doesn't overwhelm young children. A fun read aloud for our music loving 2 year old and seems good through kindergarrten. Though not the main focus, also a good and atypical counting book (10 instruments introduced one by one and counted upwards from a solo to duo, trio, quartet up to a nonet to a chamber group of ten.) Very lively, dynamic illustrations (see picture of cover) - I enjoyed them as an adult. Good gender/race mix for the musicians - a positive book in terms of diversity issues. Overall, a very good book for exposing young children to musical instruments; definitely worth having.
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Format: Paperback
A marvelous read-aloud! Beautifully unique illustrations and an outrageously well written text make this an irresistible book for the whole family to enjoy. On top of its entertainment value, readers are painlessly introduced to the instruments found in a chamber group, and counting skills are encouraged. Can't say enough about this gem.
If, in addition to the pleasure of sharing good books, you're looking to build on teachable moments, (1) consider playing classical music before, during, or after your read-aloud session; and/or, (2) for older readers, try following up on Zin! Zin! Zin! with A Young Person's Guide to Music, which includes a companion cd.
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