cover image Be Quiet!

Be Quiet!

Ryan T. Higgins. Disney-Hyperion, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4847-3162-8

Higgins’s premise couldn’t be simpler: Rupert the mouse sets out to create a wordless picture book (“They’re very artistic”), but his talkative sidekicks, Thistle and Nibbs, have more than a little trouble with the concept of wordlessness. “This book is going to be so much fun!” Thistle says. “Quiet, you!” Rupert yells. All three mice will be familiar to readers of Hotel Bruce, and, here, Rupert’s outsize Groucho glasses and moustache help to establish his credibility as an artistic director. “This book will be more than fun. It will be visually stimulating,” he explains. “What does ‘vishery strigulating’ mean?” asks Nibbs. It just keeps on going like that, with ever-less-helpful suggestions from Nibbs and Thistle (“A cucumber!”) and ever-more-unhinged fury from Rupert (“Stop filling my brilliant piece of wordless literature with nonsense!”). Of course the project marches right off a cliff, but watching it go is entertainment gold. The story’s backdrops are as polished as the characters, Higgins breathes emotional life into his characters, both visually and verbally, and his smart, laugh-out-loud comedy is expertly paced. Ages 3–5. Agent: Paul Rodeen; Rodeen Literary Management. (Apr.)