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Friday, May 14, 2010

The Quiet Book, written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Renata Liwska. Houghton Mifflin, Thomas Allen, 2010. $15.95 ages 3 and up

"There are many kinds of quiet:
First one awake quiet
Jelly side down quiet
Don't scare the robin quiet"

It seems like a 'why didn't I think of that?' book; and then you take a closer look. It is the author's adept way with understated language that gives it the perfect feel as a thoughtful, assured and 'quietly tranquil' bedtime story. It is the illustrator's ability to take that gentle idea and create equally understated, but very expressive, images to accompany the choice words. Put them together and you have a book that is destined to be a classic.

It takes you through a day, filled with so many different aspects of calm and noiselessness. There are moments when the quiet is palpable and frightening, sad and sorry, anxious and satisfied, and even anticipatory. They seem so ordinary, yet meaningful. If you want an island of calm in the rush to get the kids to bed and sleeping, try this truly lovely book.

While Deborah Underwood loves 'cat sleeping on your stomach quiet' and 'smelling lilacs quiet' (I would be sneezing), Renata Liwska considers 'drawing a book quiet' as her favorite. Got me to thinking about quiet, too.

I have lots of quiet at my house because I am generally in control of the noise that happens here. These days I love 'Erin's at the hockey game quiet' or 'reading in the back porch quiet' or 'watching the sunset from the front step quiet'.

What kind of quiet do you like?

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