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Review: The Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood

By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: March 20, 2011

The Quiet Book

by Deborah Underwood (Author), Renata Liwska (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 1-6

Hardcover: 32 pages

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (April 12, 2010)

Source of book: Author/Publisher

Inspiration for the New York Times bestselling The Quiet Book struck Deborah Underwood during a classical guitar concert—the first kind of quietness coming from the audience as they hushed for the beginning of the performance—which led to an exploration of the many kinds of “quiet” that children experience on a regular basis. Almost like a list, each page of the book is dedicated to a different quiet moment, beginning with “first one awake quiet” and ending with “sound asleep quiet.” Some particular “quiets” are most contemplative, giving some quiet and reflective moments of their own; such as, “thinking of a good reason you were drawing on the wall quiet” and “”what flashlight?” quiet.” Others are just sheer joy—”lollipop quiet.”

Illustration by Renata Liwska

Illustration by Renata Liwska

Illustrator Renata Liwska’s choice of cuddly critters (rabbits, bears and wombats etc.) and subtle hues add the perfect amount of character to each scenario. The critters’ appearances are soft enough to match the tone of the text. Their pencil drawn expressions combined with blushing cheeks, which have been colored digitally, easily give off the sense of bashfulness, embarrassment, and bliss—depending on the kind of “quiet”—that only add to the experience. Although, faces are not needed to be seen for “best friends don’t need to talk quiet”—the words speak clearly enough and a picture of a bear and bunny with backs turned, skimming rocks into the ocean, is all that is needed.  Although there is limited text, this is not a quick read. Each page should be savored so that a full exploration of feelings can take place. One of the best children’s picture books of 2010!

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Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.

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