In their third collaboration on the numerous nuances of volume, Underwood and Liwska focus on the softer sounds of the Christmas season.
Using the same format as the beloved Quiet Book (2010), each page presents just one quiet moment from the run-up to the holiday. Groups of animal characters engage in familiar activities such as trimming the tree, making gingerbread houses and participating in a Christmas pageant. The simple text describes each type of quiet in only a few words: “Snow angel quiet”; “Reading by the fire quiet”; “Listening for sleigh bells quiet.” Atmospheric pencil illustrations with softly shaded colored highlights use backgrounds of white or gray that evoke a wintry feeling, with pleasing variation between indoor and outdoor scenes. One memorable illustration shows several bears and rabbits making their way home through a snowy, candlelit woods: “Luminaria quiet.” The final page is a bit of a let-down, with an illustration of two bunny children turning toward their stack of presents, with the text “Christmas morning quiet.” The unemotional conclusion feels flat and doesn’t provide a real ending (nor does it seem that this would be a particularly quiet moment).
Nevertheless, a congenial, understated choice for reading aloud to excited children to help them settle down for a long winter’s night. (Picture book. 3-6)