The Picture Book Buzz

Listen - The Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF and Giveaway

I LOVE it when I get to give you a sneak peek into an amazing book! This week's #PPBF pick is a spectacular book by Gabi Snyder and Stephanie Graegin about slowing your mind, focusing your hearing, and cutting through the overwhelming onslaught of noise in our lives. It releases in eleven days, on July 13th.


Listen


Author: Gabi Snyder


Illustrator: Stephanie Graegin


Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books (2021)


Ages: 4-8


Fiction



Themes:

Listening, mindfulness, friendship, and self-care.


Synopsis:

In the tradition of Tomie dePaola’s Quiet and Scott Magoon’s Breathe comes this lyrical, meditative picture book about listening and mindfulness.


BEEP!

WOOF!

VROOM!


Isn’t the world a noisy place?

But what if you

stop, close your eyes,

and LISTEN?


Can you hear each sound?

Can you listen past the noise

and hear the quiet, too?


Beautifully illustrated and poignant, this lovely picture book follows a girl through her school day as she listens to sounds across the city: caws of crows, shouts across the playground, and finally, the quiet beating of her heart and whispered goodnights.


Opening Lines:

When you step out into the big, wild world,

sometimes all you hear is . . .


WOOF!

ERNT! ERNT!

BEEP!

VROOM!


Noise!


What I LOVED about this book:

Unless you're wearing noise-cancelling headphones, you are likely to experience a cacophony at some point throughout your day. Sometimes, perhaps an overwhelming number of sounds - or "NOISE!" Just as the main character experiences when stepping outside to walk to school.

Text © Gabi Snyder, 2021. Image © Stephanie Graegin, 2021.


The story line, told through the illustrations, follows a child's movements through a day, from home to school and back again. While the second-person text entreats the reader to take the time to listen, to separate the sounds and really focus on each one. For instance, as parents and kids scurry across a cross-walk, in a busy city, the text asks, "Can you hear the slap-slap-slap of shoes against pavement? Listen." I wonder, if someone really listens, could they pick out the sound of shoes on the pavement from a myriad of big city noises? Sounds like an interesting challenge!

Text © Gabi Snyder, 2021. Image © Stephanie Graegin, 2021.


Each specific sound - cawing crows, scrape of chalk, new words, a friend's sigh, or the "brush-rush-hush" of the wind which the child and reader are encouraged to listen for are highlighted in orange, within the text, (and sometimes as part of the illustration). As is the repeated word - Listen. The beautiful, subtle palette of blues, greens, and grays - with occasional highlight splashes of yellow and red - really keeps the focus on the child's discoveries that focusing can lessen the sensory impact, assist in learning, help a friend, create calm, and provide a space to hear oneself think.

Text © Gabi Snyder, 2021. Image © Stephanie Graegin, 2021.


The ending, in addition to having a number of gorgeous spreads, is touching and tender. Leaving the reader with the thought, "Close your eyes. And listen to everything waiting to be heard." The interesting backmatter explores the different responses our bodies have to sounds and the ways we can use of our sense of hearing to improve our learn and be better friends. Overall, whether a reader seeks a way to manage sensory overload, or an interesting challenge, this is a great book for encouraging everyone to expand their ability really listen to their surroundings and friends.


Resources:

- make a paper cup phone (https://theresjustonemommy.com/make-a-paper-cup-phone/). In addition to having fun listening, try some of the STEM options to learn about the science of sound.

-play a game of telephone with friends or family. How many could get the message right?

- sit outside and listen. Make a list or draw pictures of the sounds you hear. Try this in different places (in a park, car, school, shopping area), how different are your lists?

- play "End of the word - beginning of the next" - say a word. The next person has to start their word with the letter yours ended with. (Horse….Ear....Right….Tiger….)

Giveaway:

Gabi Snyder has offered a copy of Listen to one lucky winner. Sorry, but U.S. addresses only. To be eligible, just leave a comment on this post &/or Gabi's interview (here), by July 8th. Additionally, let me know if you also share either post via social media (FB, Twitter, or Instagram) and I'll add more entries into the random drawing.


If you missed it, be sure to check out Monday's interview with Gabi Snyder (here).


This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

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Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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