Picture book of the day: the joy of everyday noises in Kate Alizadeh’s Quiet!

Quiet!, illustrated and written by Kate Alizadeh, published by Child’s Play (International), ISBN:  978-1846438875.  Once while I was on the library reference desk a patron asked for books about noises people hear in different rooms in a house.  I found some titles but wow, I wish Quiet! had been around at the time.  This charming, lovely book somehow makes everyday routines seem compelling and exciting, inviting young readers to join in on every eeeeek, pitter patter, swish, and bang.  This celebration of onomatopoeia begins on the opening pages, filled with sound effects.  The young preschooler at the center of the book delights as they walk us through their day (no gender specification, a beautiful touch), but first asking us “what’s that noise?”.  Each colorful double spread gives us a widescreen view of rooms buzzing with activity.  The child’s father, a bearded cool dude in a striped shirt and possessing a captivating laugh (hee hee hee ha ha ha), prepares a meal (dinner I presume) as the blender whizzes, a pot bubbles, the microwave pings, and the baby brother burps.  Young readers/listeners will love making these noises or hearing the storyteller imitate them.  We then follow the kid as they hear other noises throughout the house, entering various rooms where a computer whirrs, a dog snuffles, a wide-screen TV blah blah blahs, a faucet drips.  And so it goes.  Nothing monumental or earthshattering or life-changing happens in Quiet!, and yet despite its title, it is far from a serene book (it’s the exact opposite).  And that’s what makes it such a fun addition to the storytime shelf.  It invites kids (and adults) to cherish the everyday, and to tune into the various everyday noises that surround them on a daily basis.  Also, this effectively shows the love between a father (possibly single, possibly with a partner/spouse at work or traveling) and child.  Pleasantly noisy, this also works as a bedtime story, the coziness apparent on every lovingly rendered page.

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