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NOISY NIGHT by Mac Barnett Kirkus Star


by Mac Barnett ; illustrated by Brian Biggs

Age Range: 2 - 6

Pub Date: March 7th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-59643-967-2
Publisher: Roaring Brook

Apartment occupants crane their necks and wonder what’s making all the ruckus, while readers, conveyed up from floor to floor, get a voyeuristic view inside each apartment and see exactly what’s making all that noise.

A brown-skinned child with close-cropped, textured black hair, asleep in the dark, bolts upright with the first startling sounds, stands on the bed, and asks the ceiling, “What’s going LALALA above my head?” A close-up cross section of the building shows the child’s room as well as a partial view of the upstairs apartment from its occupant’s waist down. What would be “going LALALA” in orange-striped trousers and shoes with spats? A page turn reveals a flamboyant white opera singer belting out notes before a music stand, his wild hair a corona of corkscrews. Below his feet and floorboards, readers see the top portion of the child’s blue walls and the words, “A man is singing opera above my head.” Each successive upper floor thrums (“ma ma ma,” “BAA BAA BAA,” “HAW HAW HAW”), lobbing delicious opportunities to enunciate at readers. Such punchy phonetic words beg to be mouthed loudly with lips, tongue, and jaw. Zany illustrations perfectly evoke cheek-by-jowl apartment living’s intimacies, frustrations, and absurdity and continue to surprise with the antics happening one flight up. Variously patterned wallpapers exemplify the particular personalities of the building’s inhabitants, who vary in color, age, temperament—even species.

Story after story of silly surprises and sounds. (Picture book. 2-6)