PPBF: When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky

Happy Friday, everyone! It’s time for a Perfect Picture Book review and activity. And if you’d like some more wonderful picture book reviews, please hop over to Susanna Hill’s blog.

It was hard to decide which picture book to review for today. Since I’m following Kristen Fulton’s 52 Weeks of Charting Non-Fiction Picture Books, I’ve got a ton of amazing non-fiction to chose from. And because I’m also participating in Carrie Charley Brown’s ReFoReMo , I’ve got a huge pile of picture books that I’m reading as mentor texts.

Decisions, decisions…

Hmmm…maybe I can combine both challenges and use a book that is one of Kristen’s 52 which I will also be using as a mentor text for a picture book I am writing.


stravinsky meet nijinsky

Title: When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky

Written and illustrated by Lauren Stringer

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2013)

Ages: 4-8

Themes: Music, Dance, Friendship, Creativity


Opening Lines:

When Stravinsky composed music all by himself, his piano trilled an orchestra with violins and flutes, trumpets and tubas, and keetledrums that lightly pom-di-di-pommed with the ringling nad tingling of cymbals and bells. But he dreamed of making something different and news.


From Amazon:

The Russian artists Igor Stravinsky and Vaslav Nijinsky were popular in their time: Stravinsky for music, Nijinsky for dance. When their radically new ballet, The Rite of Spring, was first performed in Paris on May 29, 1913, the reaction was so polarized, there were fistfights and riots! Brilliant or disastrous, the performance marked the birth of modern music and dance. Stringer’s rhythmic text and gloriously inventive, color-rich paintings capture the wild and imaginative collaboration of composer and choreographer. The fascinating author note includes photos of the dynamic duo and The Rite of Spring dancers.”


Why I like this book:

  • Introduces young children to two of the most famous people in the fields of music and dance
  • Amazing illustrations and lyrical text filled alliterative, musical language, and onomatopoeia
  • A wonderful story of friendship and collaboration


How a parent can use this book:

  • Wonderful read aloud…the text is filled with fabulous words that young children will love – how about pom-di-di-pommed?
  • Listen to The Rite of Spring and other classical music – move and dance with your child
  • The author has wonderful information and resources at the end of the book



Related Activity:


Children love music and they love to make their own music.


Photo courtesy http://www.education.com

You will need: Several glasses or glass bottles, food coloring, water, wooden spoon, metal spoon.

  1. Fill each glass with a different amount of water.
  2. For added fun, put a drop of food coloring into each glass (why not make a rainbow xylophon…great for very young children learning their colors – make each glass a different color)
  3. Arrange the glasses in order of water level.
  4. Tap each glass gently – each glass will sound a different note. Try it first with the wooden spoon and then with the metal spoon.
  5. Maybe you and your child can play a simple tune like Mary Had a Little Lamb.

For detailed instructions and more activities, please visit: http://www.education.com/activity/article/musical-great-glass-xylophone/

Have a wonderful weekend!

Please don’t forget to come back tomorrow

Meet my Will Write for Cookies guest:

LAURA GEHL, Author of One Big Pair of Underpants

About viviankirkfield

Writer for children - Reader forever Mom of 3, educator, author of FOUR OTTERS TOBOGGAN: AN ANIMAL COUNTING BOOK (Pomegranate Press, 2019), PIPPA'S PASSOVER PLATE (Holiday House, 2019), FROM HERE TO THERE: INVENTIONS THAT CHANGED THE WAY WE MOVE (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019), SWEET DREAMS, SARAH (Creston Books, 2019), picture book junkie, lover of travel, hiking, fly-fishing, cooking, and playing Monopoly with my 9-year old grandson.

Posted on March 20, 2015, in Perfect Picture Book Friday and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Who hasn’t made a glass trill with a spoon at dinner as a kid? And what a wonderful experiment to do it with all the glasses at different fill levels? Great activity, Vivian! and wonderful book. I”m looking this one up. 🙂


  2. Books like this one are so important with public schools cutting funding for music programs. Thanks for sharing!


  3. This is my kind of story! Lovely pairing of Stravinsky and Nijinsky in a moment in history. I love the Rite of Spring – even figure skated to it in a college ice show. Lovely review with great activities.


  4. I’m currently using this one as a mentor text for a pb I’m working on about two artists who collaborate. It’s great!


  5. Looks terrific, Vivian. You might also like the old film (a beaut!) The Red Shoes, or maybe have being from the NY area?


  6. Oops – maybe you’ve seen it, is what I meant to say!


  7. Great activity, Vivian. Wow, I’d love to create something so audacious it polarized readers!


  8. We see the grandchildren soon, Vivian, and making your glass xylophone is on my list of fun activities!


  9. This book is already on my “gotta read” list…. Rites of Spring – what a perfect topic for today. Here, the rites of spring involve a snow shovel and much huffing and puffing.


  10. I have been trying to find this book…now I really need to get a hold of it. Thank you for sharing!


  11. This sounds really cool! 😀


  12. What a great title! I just want to sing it!!


  13. I think the title is great too and love the glass xylophone.


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