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Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Christmas Quiet Book, written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Renata Liwska. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, Thomas Allen & S0n. 2012. $14.99

"Cocoa quiet

Shattered ornament quiet

Gliding quiet

Forgotten line quiet

Breathing clouds quiet

Luminaria quiet"

I can see you forming pictures in your mind...that is the beauty of this book. We can all of us imagine a  kind of quiet time. As with the first two books by this talented team, they have ways to get youngsters thinking about their world, and the sounds (or the lack of...) that they encounter in it. Their conditions of quiet conjure up feelings previously felt and specific memorable events.

They make quite the team. Deborah Underwood so adroitly puts herself in a young child's head when choosing the beautifully worded scenarios. Her words are an invitation for children to allow their imagination free rein and come up with other such times when 'quiet' is the mood. She moves her readers from peaceful to embarrassed, from sadness to great joy, from entranced to exuberant. Renata Liwska manages to picture each scene with 'quiet' charm and in delightfully soft images. Each one evokes the beauty of the season and the wonder that children feel while immersed in the hustle and bustle of a multitude of activities.

This is their third book; this time the holiday theme allows children who share it a chance to voice their own memories of Christmases past, and revel in the joy felt as the new one approaches. Hopefully, they will be familiar with the format, and eagerly scan each and every page to share the particular type of quiet being described. The engaging animals give a lovely soft feel to the whole. The text is simple, using only a few needed words to incite and entrance. The final image showing two inquisitive bunnies sneaking a peak at the anticipated presents reminds me of just such a scene in our house. No peeking...really????

I love these books for the shared moments they inspire and look forward with anticipation to the next...whatever sound it might be!

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