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A Quiet Place


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About the Author

Douglas Wood is the author of A Quiet Place as well as the New York Times bestselling Can't Do series. His books Old Turtle and Old Turtle and the Broken Truth were both international bestsellers. He lives in a cabin in the woods of Minnesota. A studied naturalist, Douglas shares his knowledge of nature as a wilderness guide. Visit him at DouglasWood.com.

Dan Andreasen is the illustrator of numerous picture books, including By the Dawn's Early Light: The Story of the Star-Spangled Banner by Steven Kroll, which was named an ABA Kids' Pick of the Lists and a Notable Children's Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies; A Quiet Place by Douglas Wood; and Sailor Boy Jig by Margaret Wise Brown. He has also authored several picture books, including With a Little Help from Daddy and A Special Day for Mommy. Dan lives with his family in Medina, Ohio.


Wood (Old Turtle) joins serene settings and dreams of adventure for a vivid romp through a child's imagination. Readers will relate to the ruddy-cheeked, blond city-dweller, who with hands clamped tightly over his ears yearns for respite from "whistles shrieking and grown-ups talking and engines roaring and ... grown-ups talking...." In prose saturated with simile and metaphor, Wood suggests numerous subdued spots for solitude from ponds and deserts to caverns and museums and then interjects the boy's fantasies into the mix. "You could look in the desert, where Old Man Saguaro reaches for the sky, and far-off thunderheads bloom like sky-flowers over the mesas. ... And you can be a Pony Express rider galloping through the Old West." That fantasy can loom larger than life is reflected in the layout of each spread: a small painting of the boy in his quiet place faces a full-page rendering of his daydream. For example, readers glimpse the boy leaving footprints on a beach; opposite, he's a flag-planting conquistador on a sandy shore. Andreasen (The Stars that Shine) laces his realistic oil paintings with a touch of otherworldliness. In muted hues and soft edges, the artist conveys far-ranging settings the boy, who seems at home in a Rockwellian yesteryear, envisions himself also as prehistoric caveman, swashbuckling treasure-finder, spaceman, etc. These scenarios will hold children rapt until the concluding thought perhaps a bit lofty for the very young that people hold within themselves "the very best quiet place of all." Ages 3-7. (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

"The pretty, framed, full-page pictures have an old-fashioned Saturday Evening Post feel to them."
"In his latest effort, Wood hearkens back to a simpler time to suggest an alternative to the modern child....Solid soul guidance for a media-saturated society."
--Kirkus Reviews

Gr 2-4-A boy feels the need for a calm, noise-free spot. He seems to live in a time decades ago if the cars and clothes in an early illustration are representative; however, most of the other full-page oil paintings are flights of fancy. While a variety of escape solutions are presented in text and art, they each seem to have negative aspects to them: the lilac bush is too close to home and "someone calls you to clean your room," the woods are "too dark and deep," the beach is "not your cup of tea," the desert is "a bit too dry," the fish in the pond "aren't biting," the cave could be "too cold and damp," legs are "too tired for climbing" to the top of the hill, "it's too warm for snowdrifts," the museum is closed, and the library isn't open. The final option of finding the quiet within may seem ideal to those who know the way to that place, but most children won't have the map. It seems a shame that all of the rich daydreams are shown to be potentially flawed rather than stops along the way. This is a lovely presentation of a concept that is sure to enchant adults and elude the audience for whom it may have been created.-Jody McCoy, The Bush School, Seattle, WA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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