Here at the library we adore picture books! It is a privilege to
experience how a young reader truly understands a story long before the
symbols on the pages have any meaning for them. Watch them! Eyes become
large, glued to the page, seeking out every detail the illustration has to
offer. Smiles and laughter erupt spontaneously. The joy of reading comes
very early, especially with books that explore children's perspectives of
their world. "Bartleby Speaks!" is a good example of great picture book
Bartleby Huddle is happy. Bartleby Huddle is sweet. Bartleby Huddle is
quiet… very quiet. In fact, Bartleby Huddle does not say a word, no matter
how hard his family tries to get him to speak. Mother sings opera. Papa
plays his cello. Sister Isadora tap dances. Even Ludwig the dog tries to get
Bartleby to speak. But Bartleby smiles and happily goes about playing…
quietly. The Huddles take him to the doctor, thinking something must be very
wrong. There isn't. In all ways but this one he is a normal, happy toddler.
Grandpa thinks that Bartleby just doesn't seem to have anything he wants to
So goes this lovely picture book, "Bartleby Speaks!" by Robin Cruise. I
loved this book with its noisy, over-the-top family and quiet, curious
Bartleby. I loved the connection between Bartleby and his grandfather. I
also loved that Bartleby doesn't speak until he has something important to
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Doesn't this book speak volumes about our very busy, very noisy
and crowded world that we live in? Might we also miss out on a
butterfly as it quietly flies by, or the creak of a porch swing on a
spring day with the lilac bush softly swishing its fragrant blooms
in the air? This book invites us to slow down, listen and enjoy what
simple things have to offer us while still embracing the chaos and
noise of our lives.
Kevin Hawkes' illustrations draw us into Bartleby's family and
life, both noisy and small. They complement the storyline to
perfection. Grandpa looks like an older Bartleby with button nose,
big ears and knowing grin. Next to the rest of the family with open
mouths and wide arm gestures, we instantly see that Grandpa and
Bartleby are kindred spirits. Grandpa and Bartleby enjoy being quiet
together. Just as we expect, Bartleby does speak when he is ready,
when he has something important to say.
Don't miss this lovely story by Robin Cruise and Kevin Hawkes.
There are more wonderful books to explore on the shelves of the
Youth Services Department at the Lincoln Public Library.
[Text from file received from
Lincoln Public Library District]
(Ms. Lou's blog: