Two scared campers encounter a frightening creature in Craig’s (Farmyard Beat, 2012, etc.) picture book with illustrations from Dunkley (Twenty Poems for Boys, 2016, etc.).
As the story opens, an illustration of a sleeping owl accompanies a phrase that repeats throughout the book: “Oh the forest is so quiet, oh so quiet in the night.” Then there’s a strange flapping noise, and two boys in a tent look out into the darkness to figure out what’s lurking there. The illustration for the first noise shows clearly that the flapping sound is just coming from a bat—a typical forest animal with a friendly expression. Soon the refrain repeats against a backdrop of the boys playing cards in their well-lit tent as an old, well-loved teddy bear looks over their shoulders. Once again, a noise startles them; this time, they discover a group of well-dressed, squeaky mice playing on a leaf trampoline. The boys return to their tent, and a third noise startles them back out—the howling of two foxes, which has them just about ready to give up on their outdoor adventure. But then one of the boys sees what he thinks is a squirrel and grins at their silliness. Of course, it’s a skunk that sprays, and the noises all return, sending the boys into a tizzy. Luckily, Daddy’s on hand to keep the boys brave—until, that is, a bear shows up. Daddy and the boys head home to the comfy indoors, but all the noisy forest animals are equally startled, leading to a twist that will surprise both young readers and grown-ups. The limited vocabulary and repeating text make this book a good confidence-builder for newly independent readers, and lap readers will enjoy chiming in with their parents. But the real fun is the storytelling in Dunkley’s illustrations, which offer much detail and humor, whether it’s in the boys' reactions or in the playfulness of the animals. The color palate and adorable animal characters will have young readers poring over the pictures even if they can’t read it on their own. The surprising plot twists—and text that’s uncomplicated without being boring—will make adults glad to return to this bedtime story with their children.
A charmingly clever ode to backyard camping and the fun of spending time in nature, with a good bit of humor rolled into its colorful illustrations.
Oh So Quiet!, By Lindsey Craig | Dedicated Review
Review sponsored by Owlbop Publishing
The Children’s Book Review | August 20, 2016
Oh So Quiet!
Written by Lindsey Craig
Illustrated by Daniel Dunkley
Age Range: 1-5
Paperback Book: 32 pages
Publisher: Owlbop Publishing (August 1, 2016)
What to expect: Camping, Bravery, Animals
With every turn of the page, adventurous preschoolers will be delighted by the surprising sounds of many nighttime forest animals.
Two boys are braving their backyard and settling in to sleep in a tent. They have sleeping bags, a flashlight, a deck of cards, and a well-loved blue teddy bear. Everything is quiet and peaceful, until … the sounds of the night begin in the forest that surrounds them. There is the “Flap! Flap! Flap!” of the bats, the “Squeak! Squeak!” from some playful mice, and a “How-woooo!” from two lovey-dovey foxes. Each time a sound is heard the boys shine the flashlight into the night to reveal the source of the sound and they are eventually relieved to find only a squirrel. But is it really a squirrel? A smelly skunk almost clears the backyard campsite and a smiling brown bear is eager to try out the comfortable looking tent.
Award-winning author Lindsey Craig has used a minimal amount of words that are emphasized by font and page placement and beg to be read aloud with animated voices. The use of a sound and then a turn of the page create the right balance of suspense and comfort/relief for little ones. Combined with the endearing indigo lit illustrations, readers are charmed rather than alarmed when the bear settles in to the tent for a good night’s rest as the boys sleep soundly in their bedroom with Daddy—the tent visible from the bedroom window and the bedroom window visible from the tent.
Oh So Quiet is recommended as a read-aloud campfire book—and would be even better when read post-marshmallow roasting.
Add this book to your collection: Oh So Quiet!
About Lindsey Craig
Lindsey Craig is the author of the award winning books: DANCING FEET and FARMYARD BEAT both illustrated by Marc Brown. Her books have won numerous awards and been highly praised by Kirkus Review (starred), Publisher Weekly and the New York Times Book Review; her awards include: NAAPA Gold Award Winner, Fred Rogers Best Baby Books 2011, Wilde Award Best Children’s Books, and inclusion in Texas 2X2 reading list. She has published numerous alphabet and beginning readers for CJ Educations, and recently produced her first science app SILLY SOLAR SYSTEM!. Her most recent books include the not-so-quiet: OH SO QUIET!, and the colorful and encouraging board books: TRY! TRY! TRY! and IN OUR TREE. Lindsey lives with her family and fat black cats on a beautiful island in Washington State.
For more information, visit: Lindsey-Craig-Author-Publisher.com
About Daniel Dunkley
Daniel Dunkley is a highly sought after British children’s book illustrator and digital artist. The books he has illustrated include: Oh so Quiet !, Young Spartacus, the Nana Dee series …. Ivy’s hurried shopping trip and others.
Daniel obtained his diploma in children’s book illustrations from the London Art College, as well as, graduating with honors in animation from the University of the Creative Arts. He now resides in the beautiful rolling hills of Scotland where he lets his imagination run wild, constantly drawing inspiration from his stunning environment and his two young children, who are fast becoming art addicts just like their dad.
For more information, visit: DanielDunkley.com