Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Monday, May 2, 2011

Quintessential Companion

It is in solitude that quiet can be observed and noticed. In their first collaboration, The Quiet Book (HMH Books for Young Readers, April12, 2010, author Deborah Underwood and illustrator Renata Liwska touched a chord in the hearts of their intended readers. For that reason it has been on The New York Times Best Sellers list.
In this newest volume, The Loud Book (HMH Books for Young Readers, April 4, 2011), their two parts make a pleasing whole on numerous levels:


In clear, clever phrases readers share in Underwood’s unique understanding of the exuberant, awesome, satisfying, embarrassing, expected and unexpected noises that are commonplace in the lives of children. The book opens with ALARM CLOCK LOUD following the characters in a seamless flow from one sound to another, some the result of the previous loud.

As the final page is turned readers smile as CRICKETS LOUD comes into view closing out the day. In a blog interview on April 1, 2011 on The Children’s Book Review site Deborah Underwood states: My theory is that most children’s authors have inner children, and we’re drawn to writing for that age….Verbal play and just being goofy helps my creative process. So does being around animals, whether they’re the pigs and turkeys at my favorite animal sanctuary or the squirrels and ducks in the park.

Sketchbooks, small enough to carry are always within reach of illustrator, Renata Liwska. Lovable, soft, stuffed-animal-like woodland creatures and a quirky striped lizard find their way from pencil drawings to images that not only reflect the text but expand its definition. Her illustrations are brimming with animation, expression and humor.

Graphics throughout are continuously connected. The front and back of the title page are two characters speaking through tin cans connected with string as the words fan out to become the sound. In WALKING-TO-SCHOOL SONG LOUD a squirrel on a tree branch is flinging pine cones at one of the singers. A bee in an outside scene makes his way inside on another page.

Her attention to detail is exemplified when in SPILLING YOUR MARBLES IN THE LIBRARY LOUD on the book cart is a miniature copy of The Quiet Book. Perhaps one of the best examples of her artistic gift is the shift of perspective in the illustration of FIREWORKS LOUD with all the animals gazing skyward.

Liwska states: I follow the old saying, Draw what you know. But I think I also follow another saying just as much, Draw what you like!

One can not help recalling similar loud situations in their lives or dream up other kinds of loud as they gaze at the pictures and text.  For readers of all ages this book is School's Out For The Summer Loud.

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