When Lina woke up in the morning, snow had fallen and the street was quiet and hushed. Despite the snow, Lina headed out to visit her grandmother. She loved helping her grandmother cook and today was grape leaf day, when they would make warak enab. As Lina walked to her grandma’s, she heard all sorts of noises. There was her neighbor scraping her shovel on the sidewalk. There was the crunch of her own boots in the snow. A blue jay knocked a soft ploompf of snow down from a branch, a quiet sound. People swept off their cars, others scritched past on skis. Mittens patted newly-built snowmen. Lina reached her Sitti’s apartment and the two worked together filling grape leaves with lamb and rice. Lina could hear the snow melting off her mittens and coat. Her grandmother showed her the tenth way to hear snow, one you had to slow down to notice.
This picture book is beautifully cozy and warm despite being mostly set in the outdoors on a snowy day. The sense of discovery as Lina hears the snow in various ways is great fun. The marriage of a weather event and the use of one specific sense adds to the fun and the curiosity as Lina walks to see her grandmother. The Lebanese family and food is front and center here too, warming the beginning and end of the book with a glow.
Pak’s art moves from the cozy home setting out into the cold and then back into a different warm home. His characters are diverse with their neighborhood filled with people of different races. The outdoor light, filled with blues and whites, contrasts with the yellows, reds and golds of the interior settings. It’s a celebration of the beauty and sounds of winter.
This book encourages us all to slow down and listen. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Morning can seem very quiet at first, but if you listen you can clearly hear morning sounds. As light spreads across the sky, cats creep quietly, babies wake and babble, wind whispers. Roosters crow and sprinklers hiss. Traffic begins to rumble, buses run. Bakeries open, frogs croak. Garbage trucks bustle, breakfast sizzles. Hot air balloon rise. It’s time for you to get up and greet the day yourself, filling it with your own sounds.
This simple picture book invites readers to explore what happens in the early hours of the morning before they get up. When it is still dark and there is just a touch of color in the sky, the noises are almost silent. Then as the town awakens, the noises grow, but still there is room for the small noises of morning that create our own experiences. Written with a lovely slow pace and a delight in the small things, this picture book also has a strong cadence that makes it a good read aloud.
The art glows with color and light, the yellows, reds, oranges and purples of the sky fill the pages and light the quiet awakening world beneath them. The tropical colors spill across the page, bringing morning light into dark rooms and filling the sky with joy.
A quiet yet noisy picture book just right for waking up. Appropriate for ages 2-4.
Reviewed from e-galley provided by Chronicle Books.
Little Wolf and his father head to the top of a hill for Little Wolf’s first try at howling at the moon. They watch as night falls and then Big Wolf demonstrates how it is done with a pure AAAAAAOOOOOOO. Little Wolf goes next, trying to imitate his father. But he can’t help but share his joy at it being his first howling as part of it with an “I’m hoooowling!” Big Wolf tells him that he started well but the ending was not proper form and demonstrates again. This time Little Wolf starts well again but soon adds his own interpretation. Once more Big Wolf demonstrates and again Little Wolf does his own things, this time getting his father’s paws to tap along. Soon the two of them are joining together in Little Wolf’s way of howling.
Kvasnosky’s text is simple and friendly. It will invite young listeners to howl along, so expect to fill your own space with lots of howling. As Little Wolf comes into his own in his personal way of howling, children will love the rhythms and jazzy nature of his voice. There is a great relationship between father and son in this book, a sense of patience emanates from Big Wolf while a wild playfulness exudes from Little Wolf.
McGee’s illustrations are done in gouache relief and capture the vibrancy of nature at dark. They are sprinkled with starlight and light from the moon. The medium also has lots of darkness and texture, creating its own shadows and organic qualities that add to the experience.
A howling good time, this picture book will be a pleasure to share aloud to your own group of little wolves. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
This picture book starts from the turn of the first page before the title page even appears. Questions are asked that let us follow the falling leaves into the book itself. The book layers words and questions, asking readers to look at the illustrations for the answers and creating rhymes that carry the reader deeper into the woods. The story follows a fox and a cat, as they make their way through the forest with an owl’s call haunting the air. Other sounds appear as well, inviting readers to guess what they are hearing and seeing. This is a sensory feast for children and an invitation to explore the night.
Jackson plays with language throughout the book. His poetry is layered and complex. It is created to be read aloud where the buried rhymes suddenly come through and the rhythms beat more strongly. Just as the book is about following sensory clues, the poetry is like that as well. You simply must give yourself up to the experience of reading it aloud rather than trying to control it at all. Throughout it is surprising, quiet and wild.
Tillotson’s illustrations are as rich and complex as the poetry. She crafts a wildness using perspectives and small details. Other pages are filled with darkness and near silence, then there is more to see and hear. Children will love looking for animals that they can just glimpse on the page: the porcupine disappearing into the darkness, the treefrog nearly invisible on a log.
A brilliant book to share aloud, this picture book is wild and free. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy received from Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
Yoshio heads out of his house and into the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. He hears all sorts of things, like splashing puddles and rain on his umbrella. Then he hears the sound of a woman playing a koto and visits with her. He asks her what her favorite sound is and she replies that it is the sound of silence. Yoshio spent the rest of the day looking for silence. But there was always some kind of sound, others talking, the breeze in the bamboo, traffic and trains. He couldn’t find silence anywhere, not in the bath where water dripped or in bed where he could hear a radio playing far away. He went to school early the next day, still seeking silence and then for one moment, he heard it. Even inside he was still. He discovered it was in between all of the other sounds, just waiting for him there.
Goldsaito has written a beautiful contemplative picture book where seeking the sound of silence is a search for finding your own inner place of peace. Even as the book looks towards silence, it celebrates the other sounds of a bustling city, a busy school and a family at home. As the sounds grow quieter, the book slows too allowing readers to see the way towards silence as they move through the book.
Kuo’s illustrations are gorgeous with their fine lines and details. They capture a city with many inhabitants walking together, traffic moving, and plenty of action. They also show the beauty of the bamboo garden, the loving family eating together and then Yoshio eager to find the solution to hearing silence. Readers will hear silence on many of the pages thanks to the beauty of the illustrations and the moment it takes to really look at them.
A very special picture book that will speak to many readers in our busy modern world who are themselves looking for a peaceful break in their day. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
A fresh new take on animal noises in a picture book, this is a clever and artistic reinvention. Blending animals with a typological representation of the animal and its noise, this book is pure font bliss. The book offers 25 animals that pop against the white background.
Simple in the extreme, this picture book explores the curves and zig zags of letters, turning them into tongues, feet, ears, whiskers and tails. The words are sometimes obvious in the drawings but others take a bit more squinting and thinking to make out. The art becomes a visual puzzle and makes the entire book a joy to explore and decrypt.
Get this into the hands of art teachers and writing teachers who will adore the creativity that it displays and the way it engages on many levels. Appropriate for ages 3-8.
On this bitter cold day in Wisconsin, it’s a treat to review a book that has a little mouse preparing for the winter cold. Lewis lived alone in the base of a tall tree. He prepared for winter by stuffing his home with leaves, twigs and grass. Once he was cozy inside though he realized that something was missing. Then he heard a noise that wasn’t the wind. It was a scratching and tapping noise. Lewis shouted “Who goes there!” but no one answered. Could it be a cat? An owl? A bear? As the noise repeated, Lewis continued to yell. Eventually, he was out in the wind and night investigating the sounds. Lewis will discover not only what is making the sound but exactly what he is missing too.
Wilson, author of the very popular Bear Snores On series, has another winning animal character. Lewis is a gutsy little mouse who shouts at strange noises and then investigates them despite his fears. Wilson uses lots of repetition here, making it perfect for sharing aloud. The noises always have the same pattern of sounds and Lewis always shouts back the same reply. This helps build tension in the story as well, just enough for little ones to be fully engrossed in the tale.
Currey’s illustrations have a great play of contrasts between the warm light of Lewis’ hole filled with tiny furniture and nuts and the wild blue of the outside at night. Both are equally lovely, the browns and golds of Lewis’ home shine while the deep blues of the outside glimmer with moonlight.
A perfect bedtime read for a cold day, this book is also a great choice for autumn story times. Appropriate for ages 2-4.
Reviewed from copy received from Margaret K. McElderry Books.
This very jazzy picture book will have your toes tapping along in no time. It’s the story of a young boy who sees the noise, music and rhythm in everything around him. From the squeak of the back door to the rumble of trucks on the highway, it all makes the music that surrounds him. Throughout the book, real musical instruments are also woven into the loose storyline. There are bass drums, his sister’s saxophone, violins, a trombone, tubas, and even a full band or two. Coming from Marsalis, readers will not be surprised that the final instrument in the book is a trumpet, right before all of the noises and music come together at the end.
So many musical books don’t quite work right, but this one really grooves. The rhythms of the writing are catchy and great fun. Incorporating the sounds of the world into the musical beat adds to the fun, showing rather than telling children that music can be found everywhere around them. The writing is simple and effective, and I promise that your head will bob along to this song.
Rogers’ art is completely joyful. He has incorporated the various noises into his illustrations, popping the lettering in orange color and wild large fonts. Everyone in the book seems to be moving to the beat, inviting you to join the dance.
This is a dynamite book about music and sound that will have everyone moving along to the beat. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
The author and illustrator of The Quiet Book return with a much noisier book that celebrates the different kinds of loud there are. The noises follow a bunny through his day from waking up with alarm clock yard to a sister snoring at bedtime and finally crickets singing. Many of the loud moments could be considered quieter ones, focusing on the noises that can seem loud in different situations. This is a great noise-filled foil to the first book.
Underwood has collected lovely moments throughout a day that range from very loud and disruptive to funnily loud like a burp in a classroom to noises that only seem loud because of the circumstances. For each noise, she offers a little phrase that explains the situation and the noise, often with a wry sense of humor.
Liwska’s illustrations offer a fuzzy, warm group of animal characters. She has a great sense of humor in her work, capitalizing on the most humorous moments and capturing them to great effect.
A perfect companion to the first book, this noise-filled book is sure to be a hit with any noisy group of preschoolers, meaning all of them. Appropriate for ages 3-5.