Listen (Gabi Snyder)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Listen, written by Gabi Snyder and illustrated by Stephanie Graegin, a look at the sounds all around us and how they can help us focus, learn, and grow.

Sometimes, in the big wide world, there can be a lot of NOISE. But if we quiet our minds and really listen, we would find that noise is made up of individual sounds: a dog’s friendly bark, children playing jump-rope, wind rushing through trees. In fact, if we truly focus our attention, many of those noises can teach us things, like new words, or how to comfort a friend when they need to talk about their feelings, or even the voice inside ourselves has to say. It’s true, the world is full of noise – so it’s good to know how to take a breath, close our eyes, and truly listen.

Soothing and thought-provoking. In the grand tradition of children’s books encouraging young readers to slow down and take stock of the world around – and within – them, this one focuses specifically on the difference between hearing and listening. The benefits of active listening are well-explored, from providing comfort to others to calming one’s mind to the simple enjoyment of the symphony of life that surrounds us. This is richly brought to life by Graegin’s relaxing, blue-heavy visuals, using pops of color to focus the reader’s attention and allowing them to “hear” the expressive characters and environments. Backmatter briefly explains the mechanics of hearing and different types of listening, a welcome addition to the theme of the book. The length is great for a quick storytime, and JJ really enjoyed this one. Overall, a soft and sweet reminder of the possibility in sound, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Noisy Night (Mac Barnett)

Hello, everyone! Our book today is Noisy Night, written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Brian Biggs, a fun story of a noisy apartment building and the cast of characters who live there.

A little boy lays awake on his bed on the ground floor of a tall apartment building. He’s being kept awake by the sounds of “LALALA!” from the room above. Turns out his upstairs neighbor is an opera singer… who is in turn being kept awake by the sounds of a baby cooing “mamama!” in the apartment above his! And up and up it goes, with each increasingly boisterous neighbor being kept awake by the sounds of the resident above. But there’s a tired, cranky old man at the very top, and he’s having none of it. “GO TO SLEEP!” he shouts, and at last, the residents of this cacophonous building settle in for some peace and quiet.

This was a really enjoyable book that was made for reading aloud. Between the call-and-response rhythm of the text and the rhyming “aw” sounds printed in bold, cartoon lettering, it’s a perfect story to read more than once so children can anticipate who or what is making the sounds in question. The illustrations are fun and energetic, each one growing more so as the story climbs the floors of the noisy tower. The length was just right, and JJ loved it. We highly recommend it, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!