Required Reading for the Season

by Ann Jacobus on December 16, 2012

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THE CHRISTMAS QUIET BOOK by Deborah Underwood  Illustrated by Renata Liwska (Houghton Mifflin, 2012)

The Christmas Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood and illustrator Renata Liwska is more of a good thing from the team that brought us The Quiet Book and The Loud Book. The whole idea of getting young children to even think about quiet, especially in December, makes me smile. It’s downright valiant.

In addition to reflective moments like, “Luminaria quiet,” gentle humor abounds on these pages as in, “Someone’s dad is a costume designer quiet,” or “Forgotten line (in the Christmas play) quiet.” Liwska’s warm and fuzzy illustrations enhance this, such as the hedgehog waiting for an embrace in “Mistletoe quiet.”  I’d only have to quibble with the inclusion of “Christmas morning quiet.” Not at my house. And I’m grateful they didn’t include the over-obvious “Video-game quiet.”

At one of the hardest times of year to BE quiet, when kids can barely contain their enthusiasm and impulsiveness and we’re all bombarded with noise and lights and messages, Underwood’s minimalist reminders that there is something in those still moments that young and old should contemplate, is lovely. You could argue that “Christmas quiet” is such an important and under-represented message, the book should be required reading for us all.

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