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Friday, July 21, 2017

BE QUIET! Written and illustrated by Ryan T. Higgins. Disney Hyperion, Hachette. 2017 $18.99 ages 4 and up

"Hi Rupert!
What are -

Shhhh. Be QUIET.
This book does
not have words.

Wowee, a
wordless book!"

After battling the mean-spirited bear whose house they infested while he was vacationing with his adopted goslings in Miami, Rupert, Nibbs and Thistle have given up on the hotel business and a new plan for profitability is in the works. They will publish a book! It's Rupert's idea; he knows exactly what he wants. He will be the star, and the book will be wordless.

Difficult? We don't  know the half of it, until we get a look at  just how talkative Nibbs and Thistle truly are. They have so much explaining to do:

"Hey guys,
what's with all
the shouting?

Hi Thistle! We're making
a wordless book, but I've
promised to be quiet, so
I can't tell you about it."

You get my drift?! While Rupert maintains his wish to keep it wordless, you can only imagine how many words are actually spoken as the other two (with constant direction from the book's star) discuss its merits and its meaning.

"Quiet, you!
This book will be more
than FUN. It will be
visually stimulating.

What does "vishery
strigulating" mean?

I think it means we're going
to poke our readers in
the eyeballs with pictures.

That's not what it means!
It means ... we need to
have strong illustrations."

There follows a silly discussion about the meaning of strong, which leads to total absurdity and chaos for Rupert who wants his project to be taken seriously. Impossible ... there is no stopping the two as they move hilariously from one thought to the next in quick succession and with no filters for their continuing conversation. It is a giggle fest for readers and listeners. I have read it often, each time finding something new to see in the irresistible illustrations and to relish in the telling.

The absurd nonsense, smart dialogue, and comedic pace make this a perfect piece for performance. Find three kids who appreciate the humor, have a dramatic flair and let them loose. This book is destined to be a perennial favorite at story time.

I am a huge fan of the Bruce books, Mother Bruce (Disney-Hyperion, 2015) and Hotel Bruce (Disney-Hyperion, 2016), and I am highly anticipating Bruce's Big Move in September. That being said, I would also love to read another book about Rupert and his pals. Any plans, Mr. Higgins???


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