Although this is definitely a book with message, some sprightly prose and manic illustrations make it easy to attend to. A little boy is born, and his parents are delighted, making ""happy mother and father noises"" over him, but he responds by making a racket. The older he gets, the worse his shrieking and tantrums grow, until a little man with a big orange feather in his peaked green hat whisks him away to be the Keeper of Ugly Sounds. This is pretty hard work, what with putting the sighs in the Sigh Bag, and the groans in the Groan Bag, and then dragging the full bags to the Lake with No Bottom. And it's in the middle of a forest, too. It doesn't take long for the boy to see the error of his screaming ways. He is returned by the odd little man to his ecstatic parents in the house just ""two inches shorter than a castle,"" now filled with ""chuckles and laughs and giggles and purrs."" Guzner's fabulous conceit for the Ugly Sounds places words and sounds (""hiss,"" ""eek,"" ""grrr,"" etc.) inside queasily shaped black-and-white word balloons, in wonderful contrast to the velvet richness of the colors of Sleepy Village and the dark, twisty forest.