Kirkus Reviews QR Code
LISTEN by Gabi Snyder Kirkus Star


by Gabi Snyder ; illustrated by Stephanie Graegin

Pub Date: July 13th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-5344-6189-5
Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Readers are encouraged to take a moment to listen to every sound around them.

Sometimes the “big, wild world” is full of noise. But “what if you stop, close your eyes, and LISTEN? Can you hear each sound?” A dog, a crow; a teakettle, a “hello.” New words in school, the sounds of feelings; the rain, the wind, the quiet? While a narrator addresses readers, asking them to listen past the noise, the illustrations show a brown-skinned kid with two Afro puffs starting the day on a busy street, walking to school with dad, who presents White, and spending time with friends. The pictures conclude with bedtime scenes with a mother figure, who is Black, and broad views of the neighborhood at night. Through sensory engagement, the narrative offers a fresh way to engage with the world, showing that even when the surroundings seem overwhelming, one has the power of attention—useful for learning, calm, empathy, and more. The combination of city scenes and machines, human families and groups, nature and pets creates a vision of harmony in which all creatures play a part. The blue color scheme accented with red parallels the text’s soothing tone while colored and styled font accents support the idea of listening and distinguishing between sounds and words. Endmatter defines different modes of hearing and responding to sounds. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

This book makes a memorable experience.

(Picture book. 3-9)