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Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin (Caldecott Honor Book) Hardcover – March 1, 1995
"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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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As other reviewers mentioned, this book is not written to a child's level. I usually like to buy my daughter books that have bigger words sprinkled in the verses, but it seems like this book is crammed with the bigger words. Yes, the descriptions of the sound were accurate - but would a preschooler really understand the descriptions without hearing the instruments? I didn't think that she would be able to understand why the clarinet played "breezy notes so darkly slick," or the oboe was "gleeful, bleating, sobbing, pleading through it's throbbing double-reeding" without being exposed to sound of the instruments. In other words, I didn't think my daughter would be able to understand what the words meant from the context of the book alone.
So why five stars then?
We started reading this book a month ago, and since then my daughter has been asking for it every day - sometimes five times a day.
As other reviewers mentioned, this book is great for reinforcing counting. It is quite refreshing to be able to count musicians as they're added to the orchestra, instead of just counting sheep or dinosaurs. The illustrations are quite beautiful, and in addition my daughter now knows the names of all of the instruments in the book.
I also dusted off our Mozart Magic Cube (used to be called Embryonics Music cube)- a "music block toy" that has sound samples of four of the instruments in this book - the flute, harp, french horn, and violin. Whenever we read this book, my daughter finds the appropriate instrument for the appropriate verse. At the end, my daughter and I "clap loudly and shout 'Encore,'" and we play the entire orchestra on Mozart Magic cube again.
And that, as the book says, "is a great delight." I have fun reading this book to her, even when I read it over and over again.