The Quiet Book and The Loud Book, by Deborah Underwood illustrated by Renata Liwska
I LOVE it when there is a bonus illustration underneath the jacket of a picture book! This is what you get when you peek under the flap of The Quiet Book!
Written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Renata Liwska, The Quiet Book and The Loud Book are absolute gems! Along with Mathilda and the Orange Balloon by Randall de Sève and Jen Corace, The Quiet Book is a perfect example of the brilliant simplicity that can be found in classics like Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are. All these books capture the innocence of a child's view of the world with a mere handful of sentences, raising this experience to a magical plane with superb illustrations. The publication of The Quiet Book in 2010 and The Loud Book in 2011 have two be two of my all time favorite books and, while I think that author Underwood has written two brilliant books, I think that it is Liwska's wonderfully child-like menagerie of adorable animals and her unique color palette that make these books so easy to fall into.
Over the pages of The Quiet Book and The Loud Book Underwood presents a catalog of thoughtful, creative kinds of quiet and exuberant, playful and sometimes embarrassing kinds of loud. Liwska's gentle, charcoal based illustrations and her somber color pallet are the definitely the visual representation of quiet. This same style, brightened up here and there with splashes of color, bring to life the loud. Given your sense of timing, The Quiet Book can be employed as a soporific, much like lettuce for little bunnies, or as a respite in the middle of a hectic day. The Loud Book, in turn, is just a great read out loud that should spark a lively conversation about other loud things... I don't want to say too much about these books - they are best read fresh. But, I will share a page or two since I am now completely enamored of Renata Liwska's illustrations and am saving my pennies to buy a print of her artwork, which can be done at her website. I have no doubt that The Quiet Book and The Loud Book will become THE books to give to expectant parents, new parents and toddlers, much the way Goodnight Moon is given. But, make sure you buy them for your own little ones first!
(don't miss the background characters...)