They’re Back — And This Time I Can Scream About It

h1 March 3rd, 2011 by jules

Who’s back? you may be wondering. You remember the unforgettable critters (I’m originally from Kentucky; I must say “critters”) from Deborah Underwood’s The Quiet Book, illustrated by Renata Liwska? You know. The picture book folks read and fell in love with last year (what? I’ve yet to meet a soul who didn’t fall directly in love with that book) and then closed their eyes, stuck their fingers in their ears, and said lalalalala I’m not listening when you say the illustrator is Canadian and not eligible for the Caldecott, because it was THAT GOOD. It did, however, get the 2010 Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators in the category of Original Art: The Fine Art of Children’s Book Illustration.

I think it’s remarkable how quickly The Loud Book (Houghton Mifflin), this companion book of sorts, came into existence. The Quiet Book was published in April of last year, and this one will be released next month. Perhaps they were both planned to begin with. Perhaps the publisher noted the great and abiding love for The Quiet Book and quickly got to work on its sequel. I don’t know. But no matter. It’s here, and it possesses, not surprisingly, many of the same winning qualities as its predecessor: the smart, subtle humor; the gentle, detailed pencil illustrations (colored digitally); the unexpected connections (“crackling campfire loud”); the direct, very child-centered line to the emotional worlds of its wee readers; and lots of room to think, which the author and illustrator leave readers/listeners in spades. (As Kirkus wrote about The Quiet Book, “{t}he most moving scenes leave space for imagining.”)

If you know The Quiet Book, you know it was a catalog of quiets. Quiets you may not have previously considered but that made young children nod their heads in undeniable and immediate recognition. (See my April 2010 post for some spreads from the book.) Well, there are also lots of louds. Oh. Wait. Ahem. I’ll let the first page of the book tell you…

But right before that is the copyright page, featuring the second half of an illustration, whose beginning is depicted on the title page. On the title page is a bear, and on the following page, pictured here, a rabbit with the end of their stringed-can phones, mechanisms of loud, to be sure:

I love that design. And my favorite kind of loud?

What child, I ask you, isn’t going to crack right up at that? Straight to laughing. No. Hooting, actually. Straight to hoot-laughing. Best part is that the iguana is hardly concerned about the trouble he’s about to get in (though rabbit knows she’s straight-up sunk). That cookie is just too good.

That favorite is followed closely by “Ants loud,” as in one creature’s picnic basket lunch is attacked by ants and she’s making her dismay about it known to one and all through her tears. Honorable Mention for me: “Candy wrapper loud.” This one takes place in a movie theater. (I seem to always end up next to those folks.)

Just as with The Quiet Book, this would make for a great writing prompt in elementary classrooms. Really. I’m just so happy to see these creatures return and to see the collaboration once again between Underwood and Liwska. I’ve got a couple more illustrations to show you in my never-ending 7-Imp efforts to just let the art speak for itself. (Note the last illustration. Not only do the author and illustrator have that direct line to childhood emotions, but they have also nailed the wonder. I love how “fireworks loud” isn’t the boom and pop of the fireworks, but the dazzling sparks seen afterwards.)


* * * * * * *

THE LOUD BOOK. Copyright © 2011 by Deborah Underwood. Illustration copyright © 2011 by Renata Liwska. Published by Houghton Mifflin, Boston, Mass. All rights reserved.

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23 comments to “They’re Back — And This Time I Can Scream About It”

  1. That is the best way to draw fireworks that I’ve ever seen.


  2. Oh my goodness.. I just ADORE Renata’s work so much!! This is just fantastic. Look at those sweet and funny characters.. and look how at the fireworks illustration, just brilliant to have it from that perspective! Makes us look just like them looking at that illustration. :o)

    She deserves every award out there.


  3. I am going to order it right away. I absolutely loved The Quiet Book. The collaboration between this author and illustrator is spot on. The author’s choice of kinds of quiet and loud are hilarious. Renata illustrates the soul of Underwood’s words. They are simply magical together.


  4. Just for information… as Deborah Underwood’s brother in law I can tell you the LOUD BOOK was accepted significantly before the Quiet Book was published. Obviously I’m sure that things like choice of print runs etc will have been affected, but not the publishing decision itself.


  5. Thanks Jules!
    Sigh—Another PERFECT book. GO Deborah and Renata! Absolutely stunning. Can’t wait to grab my copy.


  6. I adore this book! Just from the illos you’ve shared. Absolutely beautifully written and illustrated. The fireworks illo is one of the best illustrations I have ever seen. The wonder, the joy, the booms still bouncing in your empty eardrums.


  7. Thanks, all, for visiting.

    Ian: Thanks! I had a hunch the companion book was already planned, and I hope they do even more.

    Also, I typed iguana up there, but I’m not 100% sure it is one. If I’m wrong, my apologies to all involved with the book. I might have that critter wrong.

    I’m glad everyone else loves that fireworks illustration, too.


  8. Yes! Very soon I will be IT’S FINALLY HERE LOUD at the bookstore.


  9. p.s. I love Aunt Tillie.

    And that’s a good kind of loud, Tammi.


  10. Release date, everyone, since I never really precisely noted it, is April 4. Sorry, I’m so bad about noting exact release dates.


  11. Any chance she’ll be American this year??


  12. I love everything about The Quiet Book, and this looks at least as brilliant.


  13. Angela: HA. I’d love her to stop by for an interview, and if so, I’ll ask her if we can — POOF! —- make her an American (with all respect to the Canadians).


  14. Another one I just have to have. You make me spend way too much money on children’s books! You lucky librarians can just order to your heart’s content but I have to PAY!


  15. Alternatively, we could convince ALSC to award Caldecotts & Newberys to Canadians too!


  16. Wowowwwowwwww….. Fireworks loud makes me so happy and tingly.

    On the art front… I would love to know how those colours are created so beautifully digitally with original pencil!

    Would be GREAT to read a “how this book was made” article one day. In the mean time, I’m going to go track it down and enjoy!


  17. Yea! Wonderous!!!


  18. Can’t wait to get this one! Love the examples you’ve shown. Such a wonderful, childlike perspective in both text and images. I love the feeling the fireworks illustration gives me: that I’m magically floating above these onlookers – that I’m the fireworks! Wooo-hooooo!

    Plus, you know how I feel about THE QUIET BOOK!


  19. The fireworks illustration is just beyond words – how very brilliant. I can’t wait to get a hold of this book! Is that another type of loud? The oh i need this book right now loud!


  20. As one of the librarians who fell instantly in love with the Quiet Book, I am super excited for the Loud Book. I haven’t had a chance to see how the Quiet book would work as a read aloud, but I’ve recommended it and bought many copies for my library.


  21. I just love the copyright/dedication page. What a wonderful use of introductory space. Looks like a brilliant sequel!


  22. I agree with Selina! Another incredible book by these two ladies!


  23. […] Each page in The Loud Book presents readers with a different kind of loud to consider: good louds, bad louds, accidental louds, gorgeous louds, annoying louds and more. There will be louds you’d never really thought of as being loud before, such as “crackling campfire loud” and others that you realize you knew all along, but never took the time to explain properly, like “deafening silence loud.” Underwood’s text is clever throughout, and allowed lots of room for her outstanding illustrator, Renata Liwska, to create humour, warmth, and plenty of noise in her images. They are gorgeous. In particular I loved the one for “fireworks loud.” You can see it at Renata’s blog, here. Amazing, yes? Each illustration is a story in itself. You can see a few more over at 7 Impossible Things Before Breakfast. […]


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