When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky: Two Artists, Their Ballet, and One Extraordinary Riot

Written and Illustrated by Lauren Stringer

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Imagine a piano on wheels traveling through town! Stravinsky cannot be separated from his piano, and he has to provide the music besides. His wheeled piano leads the procession. Young readers will enjoy the idea of playing on a moving piano. “Well I will learn the piano if I can push it around the house,” may become an oft-heard request. Nijinsky, one cavorting cat, and his troupe of well trained ballet dancers follow, dancing in  time to the music. The Eiffel Tower clues the readers to the setting. “Follow me, follow me,” the dog in the picture seems to say. We follow along, eager to know what comes next.

Oh what a riot of color! Whether we are looking at the smaller illustrations or the full page pictures, the bleed-to-the-edge full color illustrations have us mesmerized. Look at the double page spread that has the words “And when it was ready Stravinsky and Nijinsky brought their new show to town.”

The words provide point and counterpoint:

Some people hated it! They were nettled by the new.

They stood on their seats and shouted “Boo! Boo! Boo!”

The facing page says:

And some people loved it! They were excited by the new.

They stood on their seats and shouted “Bravo! Bravo! Bravo!”

And so a riot breaks out. Imagine that – a riot in a theater.

Thus, the author succeeds in introducing fifth grade readers to two of the greats of the world of music and ballet. “Who are these people?” they may ask, intrigued by this story. A great launching point into the lives and achievement of Stravinsky and Nijinsky, and how their balletThe Rites of Spring changed the musical world forever. This book is a deserving addition to all libraries and reading lists.


Additional Resources:

Author’s studio: http://www.laurenstringer.com/Studio.html

Stravinsky’s The Rites of Springhttp://www.pbs.org/keepingscore/stravinsky-rite-of-spring.html

Rites of Spring Part Ihttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vf0e_n49dcQ


  • When Stravinsky Met NijinskyTitle: When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky: Two Artists, Their Ballet, and One Extraordinary Riot
  • Author and Illustrator: Lauren Stringer
  • Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books
  • Reviewer: Anjali Amit
  • Hardback:  32 pages
  • ISBN: 978-0-547 90725-3
  • Genre: Nonfiction Picture Book
  • Lexile Score: 930

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