Thursday, November 29, 2012

Silent Joy

The Christmas Quiet Book, by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Renata Liwska, Houghton Mifflin, $12.99, ages 4 and up, 32 pages, 2012. Animals with fur like felted wool soak up the quiet moments of the holiday, in this adorable companion to the national bestsellers The Quiet Book and The Loud Book!. On the snowy days leading up to Christmas, bunnies, bears, a mole, a hedgehog, an owl and an iguana share intimate moments when nothing is said out loud but everything is understood. They experience the quiet wonder of hanging a star on the top of a Christmas tree and making angels in the snow, and the cozy silence of being so bundled up in winter gear that they look as if they'll have to wobble around. They feel the chilly quiet of knocking on a friend's burrow with mittens, and the warm silence of sipping hot cocoa as they snuggle their paws. They share the quiet concentration of decorating a gingerbread house and the awkward silence when two friends meet under mistletoe. And together they own an embarrassing moment; when one friend forgets a line during a Christmas pageant, another saves him with a friendly whisper. Underwood's simple, spare words sparkle with humor and caring, while Liwska's animals are so soft and cuddly looking, it's hard not to reach out and try to pet them. Best part: An illustration labeled "Reading by the fire quiet." A bunny falls asleep on her tummy while reading, and as she dreams, tiny animal drawings parade off the pages into the shadows. (If you like this book, be sure to read Liwska's Little Panda.)

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