cover image The Way to Wyatt's House

The Way to Wyatt's House

Nancy White Carlstrom. Walker & Company, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8027-8740-8

With illustrations reminiscent of old schoolroom posters, this picture book filled with sound effects describes two siblings en route to visit a friend. As they make their ""quiet way to Wyatt's house,"" they listen to the ""CRINCH CRINCH CRINCH!"" of autumn leaves under their feet and the ""SWOOSH SWOOSH SWOOSH"" of the whispering grass. But at Wyatt's, they ""jump out of quiet into LOUD!"" The children revel in the ""maa maa maa"" of the goats, clucking chickens and booming drums until their father picks them up for the ""sleepy way home."" The book's progression from quiet to loud is perplexingly inconsistent. Young readers may have difficulty distinguishing why the protagonists consider a beetle's ""CLICK CLICK CLICK"" quiet and Jack the Cat's ""meow meow meow"" loud, for instance. While Carlstrom's poetic descriptions largely remain true to the child narrator's voice, they sometimes stray into observations more appropriate to adults than children (e.g., ""We tiptoe out, silent as shy mice,/ and let the door sigh shut"" or ""Phoebe [Wyatt's dog] knows very little about quiet ways,/ but she knows a lot about love""). Morgan's (Bloomers!) bright watercolors, like textbook artwork, diligently illustrate the actions in the text but invest little personality in the characters. Ages 2-5. (Sept.)