cover image The Noise Inside Boys: A Story About Big Feelings

The Noise Inside Boys: A Story About Big Feelings

Pete Oswald. Random House, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-593-48322-0

Oswald (Sleepy Sheepy) invites readers to consider “the noise inside boys” while tracing feelings’ internal ebb and flow. As a white-presenting family hits the beach, the youngest sibling of three takes time constructing an ambitious sandcastle, which topples when a soccer ball sails right into the middle of it. The child stands wordless, clutching a beach towel, wind-like swirls signaling a welter of feelings before the child takes off at a run. Back home, the youth’s caregiver works with the child to catalog a range of emotions in loose, light rhymes (“You might feel worried.../ or jealous.../ or mad”) as corresponding, digitally finished monochrome vignettes show other scenarios: the kid fretting over schoolwork, watching others receive trophies, and experiencing taunting. Images of the child swinging a bat with confidence and dancing a ballet solo next indicate settings in which they might feel pleased with themselves. The title raises questions about gender and emotion that the text never delves into, making this a straightforward picture book primer centered on internal noticing: “Listen to your emotions—learn how to name them./ Then you’ll know better how to explain them.” A closing chart shows the faces of 20 children portrayed with different skin tones, each expressing an emotion. Ages 3–7. (May)