Tag Archives: Freedom

PPBF – The Rooster Who Would Not be Quiet!

I chose today’s Perfect Picture Book because it’s a delightful folktale that has more than a few parallels to today’s political situation, because it pairs the words and artwork of two American immigrants, and because I’d like to think the fictional village in the story, La Paz, is somewhere in Cuba, a country I’m visiting for the first time in mid-March. This is a newly released book, but based on the reviews thus far, I think others agree that this is a Perfect Picture Book:

9780545722889_p0_v4_s118x184Title: The Rooster Who Would Not be Quiet!

Written By: Carmen Agra Deedy

Illustrated By: Eugene Yelchin

Publisher/date: Scholastic Press/2017

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: rooster, hero, courage, singing, freedom, protest, oppression, diversity

Opening:

Once there was a village where the streets rang with song from morning till night.

Dogs bayed, mothers crooned, engines hummed, fountains warbled, and everybody sang in the shower.

Brief Synopsis:

After a silence-loving mayor bans singing in La Paz, a rooster appears and continues to crow despite the mayor’s many attempts to silence him.

Links to Resources:

  • Paint a rooster with plastic fork “paint brushes”;
  • Find more chicken and rooster art ideas here;
  • Learn and sing kids’ songs from around the world.

Why I Like this Book:

An allegory perfect for these unique times, The Rooster Who Would Not be Quiet! is a humorous story pitting a very vocal rooster against a mayor elected to ease the annoying volume of a very noisy village. In words and pictures, Deedy and Yelchin show how the power placed in the mayor’s hands goes to his head. Signs admonishing “No Loud Singing in Public, por favor” evolve to “!Basta! Quiet, Already!” as the noisy village becomes “silent as a tomb,” with the words playfully shown on a tombstone. How strict were the laws? “Even the teakettles were afraid to whistle.” With analogies like this, even the youngest listeners will enjoy this story, while the adults chuckle, hum, and even, perhaps break out in song – “kee-kee-ree-KEE!”

Yelchin’s bright, colorful mixed-media illustrations, including seven full-page paintings, and three double spreads with only the word Kee-kee-ree-KEE, wonderfully complement and enhance Deedy’s tale, and breathe life into the village of La Paz.

A Note about Craft:

Deedy utilizes several techniques that render The Rooster Who Would Not be Quiet! a wonderful mentor text for picture book writers, and will ensure that it is enjoyed again and again in both homes and classrooms:

  • She sets the story in the village of La Paz, “the peace,” and integrates several Spanish words into the text. Deedy does so in a way that draws readers into the story and helps readers understand the terms in context. Even the rooster is referred to as the gallito who sings despite the best efforts of the mayor, Don Pepe. Most Spanish terms are italicized, which will make it easy for children to find them and discover their meaning in the surrounding text and illustrations.
  • At the outset of the tale, Deedy lists many types of song that contribute to the noise, including animal sounds, heartwarming parental sounds, industrial sounds and natural sounds. People enjoy hearing some of these, while others, like a dog braying, could be considered annoying. I think by including such a broad spectrum, Deedy draws attention to what, later, is at risk, namely the vibrant hum of the community. She also adds a further layer to the story by providing a discussion opportunity about the many pleasant and unpleasant songs in a village or town.
  • Deedy skillfully utilizes repetition in the interactions between the Gallito and the mayor. Use of repetition bolsters the feeling of a traditional folktale and helps children anticipate the results of these encounters.
  • Finally, like all good folktales, The Rooster Who Would Not be Quiet! includes a moral. Who better to deliver this message than a lowly rooster.

I can’t help but conclude this review by quoting the Author’s Note in full:

Roosters sing at sunrise; they also sing at noon, sundown, and in the middle of night. Roosters sing when they please, and that’s all there is to that.

Much like roosters, human children are born with voices strong and true – and irrepressible.

Then, bit by bit, most of us learn to temper our opinions, censor our beliefs, and quiet our voices.

But not all of us.

There are always those who resist being silenced, who will crow out their truth, without regard to consequence.

Foolhardy or wise, they are the ones who give us the courage to sing.

So crow away!

This Perfect Picture Book entry is being added to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books list. Check out the other great picture books featured there!

Perfect Picture Book Friday – Two Parrots

Happy Norouz! Norouz, also spelled Nowruz or Norooz, is Persian New Year and will start this year on Sunday, 20 March 2016. Who knew? Sadly, I had never heard of this holiday until recently, even though I know several people of Iranian descent. To make up for lost time, I chose the book below:

 

9780735841710_p0_v3_s118x184Title: Two Parrots
By: Rashin, inspired by a Tale from Rumi

Publisher/date: NorthSouth Books, 2014

Suitable for Ages: 5-8

Themes/Topics: Freedom, Persian folktale, parrots

Opening: “Once upon a time, in Persia, there was a merchant who travelled the world for his business. On one of his journeys to India, he received a beautiful parrot as a gift from a friend.”

Brief Synopsis: A merchant showers his beloved parrot with everything, including a gilded cage. A clever trick teaches the merchant that all the riches in the world, without freedom, cannot bring happiness.

Links to Resources: Older children can find out more about the setting of the story, Persia, or modern-day Iran.

Find out more about Norouz at Asia Society Kids. Families can compare the rituals of this Persian celebration with those of other Spring holidays, such as Easter and Passover.

Try preparing Nowruz dishes, like those found in Happy Nowruz: Cooking with Children to Celebrate the Persian New Year (Mage Publishers, 2008).

Try coloring parrots, the featured bird of this story, or try coloring in the very detailed, multi-layered style used by Rashin. See more of her work at rashinart.com

Try making a Persian carpet, like the ones shown in Two Parrots.

Why I Like this Book: Like many of us of a certain age born and educated in the US, I know almost nothing about the history and culture of Persia, now encompassed primarily by Iran. So I was thrilled to stumble upon the words of Jalaluddin Muhammad Rumi, generally known as Rumi (1207-1273), a 13th century Persian poet, theologian and Sufi mystic, in a picture book illustrated by an artist from Iran. The illustrations are lively and colourful, a perfect complement to this delightful story with an important lesson that without freedom there is no happiness.

 

This Perfect Picture Book entry is being added to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books list. Check out the other great picture books featured there!