Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin

“Zin! Zin! Zin! a Violin”, text by Lloyd Moss, illustrated by Marjorie Priceman made its way into our book bin at a time when I was looking for ideas to introduce little gosling to classical music concepts and images. I think it does the trick! Little gosling enjoys it and is asking mommy to read it quite often. In parallel, we’ve listened to pieces of music featuring some of the instruments. He now asks to listen to piano and cello music at bedtime. One evening, after reading the story, he told me he wanted to see an orchestra. Don’t know how much he’ll remember this, but I certainly will and will do my best to make it happen soon! I love it when books stir his curiosity.. 

Illustrated in warm tones of pink and yellow and orange, it introduces one by one ten instruments – brass, reeds and strings included, as well as the vocabulary for the musical groups, culminating with a chamber group of ten that gives a concert in a fancy concert hall, closing with a bow and an “encore”. It’s a pretty accurate image and sequence of how a classical concert unfolds. Written in rhyme, the verses describe the physical appearance of instruments as much as the tones and feelings they convey to the audience. The portrayal of the members of the orchestra reflects the instrument they’re playing. And they all seem to be swaying and moving to the rhythm of the music. The pages are full of musical scores and musical notes flying around. Illustrations are so very fluid, flowing and, ultimately, musical. 

I feared the vocabulary may be too complicated for a two years old, but little gosling enjoys the sound of the words and musicality of the rhyme. Take, for example, “With mournful moan and silken tone, itself alone comes one trombone”. We play at guessing the instruments and the order in which they appear. He gets particularly excited at the flute and the French horn, as well as at the conductor. He is also smitten with the two cats, mouse and dog playing on each page, until eventually falling asleep at the end of the concert, after dancing together to the music of the orchestra. He likes to repeat mommy’s commentary to the illustrations: “when the concert is finished and the orchestra has gone home, the concert hall is cleaned and the dog, the cats and the mouse go to sleep” :). 

Leave a Comment