THE SOUND OF SILENCE

An inviting tale that will stretch inquisitive and observant young minds—and may even lead children to a greater...

Like a Zen koan, this story draws readers’ attention to silence, that vanishingly rare attribute of modern family life.

Yoshio, wearing the classic bright cap and backpack of the Japanese pupil, sets jauntily off on his way to school through the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. Along the way he meets an elderly woman playing the koto, a traditional stringed instrument, who tells him that “the most beautiful sound” is in fact ma, or silence. Puzzling over this conundrum as he moves through his noise-filled day, Yoshio eventually becomes aware that silence is always there too, if only one learns how to notice it. Every detail of this book brings Japan vividly to life, from popular storefronts and cartoon characters to commuters wearing surgical masks and children removing their outside shoes at school. Japanese is rich in onomatopoeic sounds, and Goldsaito and Kuo convey this linguistic quirk to English readers both visually and verbally. The elegantly expressive text and illustrations together create an immersive sensory experience for readers.

An inviting tale that will stretch inquisitive and observant young minds—and may even lead children to a greater appreciation of that golden commodity, silence . (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-316-20337-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

A BIKE LIKE SERGIO'S

Embedded in this heartwarming story of doing the right thing is a deft examination of the pressures of income inequality on...

Continuing from their acclaimed Those Shoes (2007), Boelts and Jones entwine conversations on money, motives, and morality.

This second collaboration between author and illustrator is set within an urban multicultural streetscape, where brown-skinned protagonist Ruben wishes for a bike like his friend Sergio’s. He wishes, but Ruben knows too well the pressure his family feels to prioritize the essentials. While Sergio buys a pack of football cards from Sonny’s Grocery, Ruben must buy the bread his mom wants. A familiar lady drops what Ruben believes to be a $1 bill, but picking it up, to his shock, he discovers $100! Is this Ruben’s chance to get himself the bike of his dreams? In a fateful twist, Ruben loses track of the C-note and is sent into a panic. After finally finding it nestled deep in a backpack pocket, he comes to a sense of moral clarity: “I remember how it was for me when that money that was hers—then mine—was gone.” When he returns the bill to her, the lady offers Ruben her blessing, leaving him with double-dipped emotions, “happy and mixed up, full and empty.” Readers will be pleased that there’s no reward for Ruben’s choice of integrity beyond the priceless love and warmth of a family’s care and pride.

Embedded in this heartwarming story of doing the right thing is a deft examination of the pressures of income inequality on children. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6649-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

NOTHING EVER HAPPENS ON A GRAY DAY

Quietly contemplative and thoroughly lovely.

A child finds adventure and a change of perspective on a dreary day.

Clouds cover everything in a palette of unending gray, creating a sense of ennui and gloom. A child stands alone, head down, feeling as gray as the day, and decides to ride through town on an old bike. Pops of color throughout the grayscale illustrations go unnoticed—there are yellow leaves scattered about, and the parking lot is filled with bright yellow buses, but this child, who has skin the grayish white of the page, sees only the empty playground, creaky swings, a sad merry-go-round, and lonely seesaws. But look—there’s a narrow winding path just beyond the fence, something to explore. There are things to be noticed, leaves to be crunched, and discoveries to be made. Imagination takes over, along with senses of wonderment and calm, as the child watches a large blue bird fly over the area. The ride home is quite different, joyful and filled with color previously ignored, reaffirming the change in the rider’s outlook. The descriptive, spare text filled with imagery and onomatopoeia is well aligned with well-rendered art highlighting all the colors that brighten the not-so-gray day and allowing readers to see what the protagonist struggles to understand, that “anything can happen…on a gray day.” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Quietly contemplative and thoroughly lovely. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781797210896

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2023

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