Sullivan, Who Is Always Too Loud

Roaring Brook. Oct. 2020. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250307729.
Gr 1-2–Sullivan has a problem. He can’t seem to say anything without shouting. His mom tries reminding him to be quieter for his baby sister, for his neighbor, and for his mom’s own sanity. However, Sullivan can’t keep his voice buried; he tries and tries, but it always comes out at high volume. At school, Sullivan is just as loud. He wishes he were quieter and starts to feel down on himself, until his mother tells him to try counting before speaking. Sullivan counts and it works. Then panic ensues for him as he wonders if his ability to express himself is gone. A minor emergency proves it is not; Sullivan finds his voice and saves the day. Sullivan is a relatable character. The book has a simplistic illustration style with limited backgrounds, focusing more on the characters.
VERDICT Every child will recognize the all but uncontrollable urge Sullivan has to speak up, and how he struggles to do the right thing. An evocative slice of life, more liberating than therapeutic.

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