Friday, May 14, 2010

Get This Book

The Quiet Book
Written by Deborah Underwood
Illustrated by Renata Liwska
Ages 4-8
32 pages
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (April 12, 2010)
ISBN-13: 978-0547215679

I was at the South Sound Reading Foundation earlier today and Jennifer Forster, the director, pointed to one of the countless books tumbling from every surface in her office and exclaimed, "The Quiet Book! Have you read it?"

First of all, any book called Quiet that makes someone holler is going to get my attention. Since I don't get many chances to flaunt my knowledge, I pulled my finger out of my nose and said No, I haven't even heard of that book. But I said it in a very graduate schoolie way.

She left me alone to read it.

Let me just say this: READ THE QUIET BOOK!!!!

Oh man, this little nugget of sweetness melts in your middle. It's a very quiet book, with loud powie love written all over its pages.

Deborah Underwood's concept for the book is simple: write about all the different kinds of quiet. Add the whispery quiet illustrations of Renata Liwska and you've got a classic picture book. Simple, but profound.

It's stunning, really, how many different types of quiet there are. Some are playful ("jelly side down quiet,") some are serious ("thinking of a good reason you were drawing on the wall quiet") and some are poignant ("last one to get picked up from school quiet").

What's even more remarkable than all the types of quiet that Underwood describes is how her perfectly selected words, together with the images, evoke such nuanced emotions and strong associations. Each little vignette explores daily life from morning to evening. The events are all recognizable and relatable.

There's a lot to shout about in THE QUIET BOOK. But shhhhh....try not to holler when you tell someone about it.