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FICTION

A Quiet Girl

Pajama Pr. Aug. 2020. 32p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781772781229.
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K-Gr 2–A pale girl with free-flowing frizzy brown hair, Mary does not say much and when she does, she speaks quietly. She climbs trees to hang her recycled jug feeder, whispers to birds, and swings and cartwheels outdoors. “Because Mary was quiet, she heard things nobody else heard.” Unfortunately her family—mother, father, and brother—cannot hear her, and tell her to speak up. They are all so busy, however, that Mary’s version of loud is still not loud enough. Mary becomes even quieter and it seems as if her family does not notice her at all. “Soon she became so quiet she felt like she just wasn’t there.” The illustrations in ink and watercolor show Mary as an outline with no color and then as an absent figure. Soon, her family notices her absence and they use their loudest voices to call for her, to no avail. Only when they stop to listen do they hear Mary’s small singing voice. Illustrations feature both full-page spreads filled with soft colors and expansive views of the outdoor world, and smaller illustrations in simultaneous succession with plenty of white space. Back matter features a brief explanation of mindfulness (“Feeling Quiet Inside”) and a list of five ways to practice it.
VERDICT A quiet young girl in a noisy world, Mary shows her loud, busy family that listening allows for more to be heard. With suitable tips on the practice of mindfulness, this title will be a welcome addition to every picture book collection.

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