cover image Quiet, Wyatt!

Quiet, Wyatt!

Bill Maynard. Putnam Publishing Group, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-23217-6

Punchy rhymes come at the expense of the story line in this slim tale. Each time Wyatt acts curious or offers to help, he is met with a rhyming jibe: ""Quiet, Wyatt!"" His family and neighbors tell him that he's ""not big enough"" and ""not old enough"" to fly a model plane, dry a car, fry an egg or buy a pet. Frustrated, Wyatt tries to get attention by shouting, then finally submits to the relentless repetitions of the title refrain. Yet Wyatt has valuable information (""The big kids lost their airplane. Wyatt knew where it was. But Wyatt was quiet""). When he finally breaks his silence to point out a puppy hiding under a truck, Wyatt gains his community's approval. The anticipated refrains follow: thereafter, the kids lend him their toy plane (""Fly it, Wyatt""), his sister lets him dry the car (""Dry it, Wyatt""), his dad lets him make breakfast (""Fry it, Wyatt"") and the puppy gets a new home (""Let's buy it, Wyatt!""). Textured paper, in muted shades of olive, rose and blue, provides a ground for grainy colored-pencil lines and gently applied gouache. Pastel-soft settings showcase cartoonishly cute characters, who have oversize, stylized heads on skinny bodies. Maynard and Remkiewicz (previously teamed up for Incredible Ned) make a treacly appeal for indulgence on Wyatt's behalf, with the subtext that children should be seen and not heard until absolutely necessary. Ages 4-8. (June)