Tuesday, June 13, 2017
The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet! Written by Carmen Agra Deedy and illustrated by Eugene Yelchin. Scholastic Press, 2017. $23.99 ages 5 and up
La Paz is a village filled with people, bold color, song, and noise ... too much noise! The old mayor is fired, and Don Pepe is elected the new mayor. He takes action immediately, banning 'loud singing in public'. Ah, the villagers are happy. Don Pepe likes the power afforded him in this new role; soon there are other restrictions.
For seven years the village is silent. Teakettles won't whistle, people move away wanting their voices to be heard once more, the remaining villagers enjoy the peaceful, hushed ambience. The arrival of a rooster and his large family elicits a change. That little rooster has a big voice, and is not afraid to use it. The morning following his arrival, and right under the mayor's window, he bursts into song. The mayor will have none of it!
The mayor threatens, the rooster sings. The mayor chops down the tree that brings the rooster great joy, the rooster sings a sadder song. The rooster sings for his family, the mayor puts him in a cage where the rooster sings a lonely song. The rooster sings a song of thankfulness for the corn he is fed, the mayor removes the corn. The rooster sings 'a hungrier song. A blanket over its cage to block out sunshine does not keep the rooster from singing his songs.
The villagers take note of the music they have not heard in such a long time. A crowd gathers at the mayor's house and hears the rooster tell the ever-threatening Don Pepe:
"I sing for those who dare not sing - or have
forgotten how," said the gallito. "If I must sing for
them as well, senor, how can I keep from singing?"
It is a resounding message for those gathered. Their reaction has lasting results.
Eugene Yelchin's oil pastel, colored pencil, gouache and acrylic images are perfect for this folkloric tale. Mood and emotion fill the book's pages, changing from bold to blue and back again as the story ebbs and flows. His rooster is ever cheerful and defiant, Don Pepe is arrogant and autocratic. I love the strong colors and lines, and the boost of spirit he brings to an already spirited text.
Carmen Agra Deedy leaves readers with a clear message in her author's note.
Much like roosters, human children are born with voices
strong and true - and irrepressible.
Then, bit by bit, most of us learn to temper our opinions,
censor our beliefs, and quiet our voices.
But not all of us."