Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Whisper

Two time winner of Caldecott Honors, Pamela Zagarenski, has written a celebration of story telling and imagination, The Whisper. A little girl who loves words and stories is lent a magical book by her teacher. On her way home, words spill out of the book. We can see, but she cannot, a fox gathering all the words into a net. When she gets home and opens the book she can see all the beautiful pictures but there are no words. How can there be stories without words? She hears a wind blow and a small voice whisper: "You can imagine the words, you can imagine the stories."

It felt difficult at first to imagine a story, but she looked harder at the details: are the two bears best friends? Is one of them bringing a gift of honey to the other bear? She had a title, Blue Bear's Visit, and then a story. So the reader can get into the fun, we see the pages in the magical book. The little girl can be seen in the bottom of each two page spread. as she turns the pages, she gets quicker at finding the stories in the pictures. Before she returns the book to school, she meets the fox and he gives her the words he gathered and she helps him reach a bunch of grapes. 

Those familiar with Zagarenski's illustrations in Sleep Like A Tiger will recognize her signature wheels, tea cups crowns and tigers. This book is a feast for the eyes. It also offers a child an opportunity to make up her own stories.

The Sonoma County Library has eight copies.

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