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Monday, July 20, 2020

A Quiet Girl, written and illustrated by Peter Carnavas. Pajama Press, 2020. $22.95 ages 4 and up

"So Mary decided to be
quieter than she had ever
been before.

Suddenly, the world unfolded
around Mary as her senses were filled with more beautiful things.

A leaf hanging from a fine
thread of spider silk."

I knew I was going to love this book! Peter Carnavas is a marvel; I have admired each of his works. Meeting Mary is an absolute delight. She is someone very special, with her quiet ways and love of nature. Mary is a listener when few people around her are not.

Mary knows about the wonders of her world. She knows because she is observant, and always quiet. She hears things that her parents and brother don't appear to hear, and sees things they don't notice.  They are always occupied with busy, noisy things.

Mary has always been this way. Encouraged to speak up and be heard, she tries; it t doesn't work. No one hears her distinctly quiet voice. The family goes about noticing whatever is louder than Mary is. In response, Mary decides to be even quieter than she has always been. What remarkable images  await!

There is a problem:

"Now that Mary was very quiet,
her family hardly noticed her at all.

Soon she became so quiet
she felt like she just wasn't there."

For a while, no one misses her. When they do, their search is on. They call her name, search high and low, look inside and out. Only when they stop yelling and begin listening to the quiet do they hear her sweet song. 

The soothing artwork makes a perfect backdrop for Mary's many discoveries. Plenty of white space keeps the focus on Mary and all that she loves in nature. Quietly beautiful, this tale offers a lesson in being mindful to all that surrounds us.

Bravo to the introverts among us.

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