When noisy new neighbors move into a bear’s quiet neighborhood, it takes him time to adjust in this debut picture book from author Howard and illustrator Wolf.
Kuda, a brown bear, loves the soft noises that fill his neighborhood, including a whooshing stream and the chirps of local birds. But during his walk, a new sound seems to attack him: “BOOM whappa whappa.” When Kuda asks Rabbit where the noise is coming from, Rabbit explains that they have new neighbors. Kuda’s surprised that Rabbit, Owl, and Squirrel all like the racket, and he soon goes home and buries himself in blankets and ear muffs. When he finds an invitation to a “ROCK & ROLL celebration,” however, he decides he’s had enough of being alone. He sees friends dancing and playing music, and he slowly lets himself feel the rhythm, too. Soon, the new fox neighbor invites him to jam with them. Howard’s clever, onomatopoeic text is full of sound words that young readers will love, and her sensitivity in portraying Kuda’s difficulty in trying something new will resonate. An author’s note at the end describes sensory-integration issues and autism with clarity and compassion. Wolf’s adorable, stylized cartoon animals and the rainbow-colored stream of the music make the woods feel welcoming.
A tale that offers a kindred spirit for readers who struggle with change.