A Big Quiet House

Heather Forest, Author, Susan Greenstein, Illustrator August House Publishers $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-87483-462-8
Forest revisits the popular Yiddish folktale that also inspired Margot Zemach's classic It Could Always Be Worse (1976). A poor man who longs for a ""big quiet house"" where his wife's snoring and his children's giggling will not annoy him consults the wisest woman in the shtetl (most versions cast a rabbi as the advice-giver). On successive visits, she instructs him to bring first a chicken, then a goat, horse, cow, and a sheep inside his house, which of course adds to the din. Finally, when she tells him to remove the noisy animals, the man has a new appreciation for his relatively large and quiet house. Forest hams up her telling with intermittent rhymes and refrains, inviting audience participation with a number of animal noises, but she lacks Zemach's canny wit and expert pacing. Greenstein enhances the story's historical flavor by using watercolor and streaky white pencil on a black surface, resulting in a pleasingly old-fashioned, woodcut-like appearance. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 12/01/2005
Genre: Children's
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-20570-2
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-613-70730-5
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-0-87483-604-2
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