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The Sound of Silence Hardcover – Picture Book, August 2, 2016

4.8 out of 5 stars 84 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

K-Gr 4—On a rainy, bustling morning in Tokyo, a young boy is surrounded by a symphony of sounds: boots squishing, raindrops pattering, cars rushing, and, to his delight, a koto player producing a range of high, low, and "twangy and twinkling" notes as she tunes her instrument. When Yoshio asks the musician what her favorite sound is, she answers, "Ma," the silence between sounds. Intrigued by her comment, the boy spends his day in search of the elusive ma. Kuo's art provides the backdrop for the child's quest in scenes of contemporary Tokyo, from the high-speed Shinkansen trains that pass through its stations ("whoosh") to the bamboo grove near the school playground that whispers "takeh-takeh-taheh." Most of the images (in pen, with color added digitally) span spreads, offering wide-angle views of the city, but there are a few single-page pictures, proffering their own unique perspectives. The art is rich in detail and features a variety of concentrated colors that give way to muted grays and browns when suddenly, while reading, Yoshi experiences ma, something that feels peaceful, "still inside him." In an author's note, Goldsaito acknowledges the influence of the Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu, who believed that "without silence, sound would be meaningless." VERDICT This book will be especially welcome in settings that teach yoga or mindfulness, but its message and striking art will be appreciated anywhere the din of daily life can overwhelm.—Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal

Review

"Kuo (Daisy and Josephine) draws with an architect's precise line, alternating gallery-worthy spreads of Tokyo's crowds and buildings with domestic scenes of Yoshio and his family. Debut author Goldsaito's final passages about ma successfully illuminate the term and could be used to teach children to meditate, the way Goldsaito's father taught her, as she explains in an afterword." -Publisher's Weekly

"An illustrated serenade to the art of listening to one's inner voice amid the noise of modern life." 
"Goldsaito's lyrical writing, part ballad and part haiku, and Kuo's illustrations, midway between manga and Chris Ware yet thoroughly original, carry the story with effortless poetic enchantment."
-Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Illustrated edition (August 2, 2016)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 40 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0316203378
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0316203371
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 4 - 8 years
  • Lexile measure ‏ : ‎ AD700L
  • Grade level ‏ : ‎ Preschool - 3
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 11.38 x 0.5 x 8.75 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.8 out of 5 stars 84 ratings

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5
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Top reviews from other countries

Fieldwanderer
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 7, 2020
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johanna s
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 16, 2017
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Ann M. Collett
4.0 out of 5 stars A different children’s book
Reviewed in Canada on April 13, 2019
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Good story and beautiful illustrations
Reviewed in Spain on February 16, 2017
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Gaia
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best children’s books for children between 4 and 100 years
Reviewed in Germany on November 2, 2017
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