Everyone in the Bungle family squeaks, squawks and squelches too much for Sam, the quiet, dreamy middle-child creature (the Bungles look vaguely like raccoons).
Sam is bombarded by noise in Doyle's captivatingly onomatopoeic free verse. Vere illustrates sound as colorful bubbles and bursts that issue forth from each family member. Against the paper-bag–brown background, readers see pink upside-down teardrop shapes coming from Mama, a purple balloon of sound from Granny’s knitting needles and a spiky orange blast from sister Bella. But poor Sam has a squiggly tornado of black lines above his head. He needs to get away from this noise. “So he upped / and so he offed / and so he wandered / to the woods.” At first all is bliss, as he finds himself surrounded by clouds, trees and a small stream. Bunnies and birds emit tiny sound shapes in pink, yellow and blue. Sam is inspired to create some rhymes, but gradually it gets dark. The deepening purple scenes become increasingly scary as he feels “a flitter-flutter / flap around his face” and then a “slippy-slidy / [slither] / down his neck!” Young ones will see that these threatening things are only benign nocturnal creatures. Predictably, Sam must resort to the behavior he usually loathes and yells for help. Slowly he hears his family come for him as a double-page spread shows him happily engulfed in a “HURRICANE OF NOISE!”
Quiet thinkers will enjoy meeting a character like themselves, and others may gain a better understanding of those who crave a little peace. (Picture book. 4-6)