As I was deliberating which book to make the subject of my first picture book review, I remembered a day back when I lived in New York. My brother Dave had stopped by my apartment while I was grading papers, and then stood for a moment without saying anything. When he finally spoke, he asked, incredulous, “What, do you just sit here all day in the silence?”
Well, yes, I do. Although I’m a fairly sociable person, I’ve always loved solitude and silence. I don’t get bored or antsy when I’m alone, and I never notice the absence of sound, except perhaps to think, “Ah, now isn’t that nice?” Like my father used to do, I’m usually singing to myself anyway — and if I’m not, my thoughts are noisy enough as they are.
Now that I’m a parent, and a pretty new one at that, I’ve of course discovered that moments of complete silence — much less whole days — are hard to come by. That’s why I was naturally drawn to Deborah Underwood’s The Quiet Book, and why I keep coming back to it even though my boys are still too young to enjoy it. It calls to me over and over — ever so quietly — from its spot on the bookshelf, and as the twins gleefully bang toys against the wall, I’m compelled to slip through its pages, enjoying the moment of peace within.
Written by: Deborah Underwood
Illustrated by: Renata Liwska
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (April 12, 2010)
Genre: Picture Book/Fiction
Themes/Topics: Animals, Friendship, Emotions, Peaceful Moments
Opening and Brief Synopsis:
There are many kinds of quiet:
Quiet can be delicate.
Quiet can be thundering!
Quiet can be sweet, and cozy,
and can most definitely help you fall asleep.
A gentle exploration of all the different kinds of quiet a child can experience during a busy day, from “don’t scare the robin quiet” to “lollipop quiet.”
Links to Resources:
The Castle Library: ideas for helping kids create their own quiet books (adaptable for all ages)
Why I Like This Book: The Quiet Book is exactly what the title says — a sweet, quiet book perfect for a whispered bedtime lullaby or any time the kids need to take it down a notch. While not a traditional story, per se, the simple text works so cleverly with Liwska’s warm illustrations that by the end you realize Underwood has taken you on a subtle journey through a child’s day, telling little stories along the way and giving kids plenty of details to discover. The book is comforting, funny, adorable, witty, and charming, and sets the imagination on a quest to explore your own favorite kinds of quiet.
Perfect Picture Book Fridays is a shared weekly event started by children’s author Susanna Leonard Hill. You can find the entire list of recommended picture books on the Perfect Picture Books page on her blog.