Sunday, August 5, 2007

The Quiet Noisy Book

The Quiet Noisy Book
by Margaret Wise Brown with pictures by Leonard Weisgard/ published 1950 by Harper & Row

These two have been adding to the collective memory of children for decades, both together and apart. I became somewhat obsessed with Ms. Brown after reading an article about her in Vanity Fair seven years back. I was living in NYC at the time and always passed by this strange little cottage down toward the meatpacking district. It was smack dab in the middle of all these warehouses yet looked like someone had plucked it directly out of the countryside in England -- rose bushes, pebbled walk and all. When I read in the article that the house had belonged to her, and I just couldn't get enough. What sort of wonderful person would live in a house like that, tucked away in one of the scarier (at least back then) parts of town?

Most famous for Goodnight Moon, it seems like every children's book in the 50s and 60s was written by her. In particular, she seemed to have some sort of obsession with small sounds from the old lady rabbit in Moon saying Shhhh to The Whispering Rabbit with its sound to wake a sleeping bumble bee to this one which is one in a series of Noisy books.

"Muffin, the little dog who heard everything, had been asleep all night. Quietly something woke him up. A very quiet noise. What could it be? Was it an ant crawling. Was it a bee wondering? Was it an ELEPHANT tiptoeing down the stairs? Was it butter melting?"

The precious thing about this book is the sound we are wondering about ends up being the sound of the new day, which is just an amazingly sweet thing to me. Now my son, when he wakes up and sees the sun rising, bellows, "Look Mommy, it's the new day." Pretty dang sweet.

Also by:
On Christmas Eve
Christmas in the Barn
The Dead Bird
Little Chicken
The Golden Egg Book
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Treasures to See
The Big Book of Nursery Tales
The Friendly Book
Sir Kevin of Devon
Cynthia and the Unicorn
The Mouse and the Lion

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