________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 13. . . .November 26, 2010


Too Much Noise in the Library.

Susan Margaret Chapman. Illustrated by Abby Carter.
Janesville, WI: Upstart Books (custsvc@upstartpromotions.com), 2010.
32 pp., hardcover, $17.95.
ISBN 978-1-60211-023-5.

Subject Heading:
Libraries - Fiction.

Kindergarten-grade 2 / Ages 5-7.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4



Ms. Reade was piling some books and CDs and puppets on a cart. “Mr. Mayor,” she said, “I’m just taking these things down to the kindergarten. I’ll be right back. Please make yourself at home.”

And he did.
the book returns thumped, kerplop kerplop,
the computer keys tapped, clickety click,
the printers screeched, zippedy zing,
the DVDs blared, blabbety blab,
the pages turned, rustle rustle,
the teachers chattered, yackety yack,
the children giggled, hee hee, hee hee,
and Adam asked a million questions.

Ms. Reade, a school librarian, is in charge of a busy media center where her students are actively engaged in a variety of learning activities. One day, the town’s mayor drops by for a visit, and, because all of the children are out for recess, the library is peaceful and quiet. However, this tranquil atmosphere is soon changed when the kids file in. When Ms. Read leaves the room for a moment, the mayor, clearly unsettled by this “new’ kind of library where silence is not golden, decides to do something about the noise problem created by the students, teachers and electronic devices. First, he closes the book return box. When that doesn’t alleviate the noise, he shuts off the computers and printers; then he turns off the DVD players; and, finally, he dismisses the kids and the teachers. At last, the library is silent. Upon her return, Ms. Reade is shocked at the change in the library- with no patrons and no activity, the library has ceased to be the vibrant, bustling place it was a few minutes ago. The mayor agrees with her that the library is just too quiet, and so he turns the computers, printers and DVD players on, invites the children and teachers back, and delights in the lively atmosphere as everything returns to normal.

internal art     Based on an old folktale, this repetitive story touts the value of the library as a hub of joyful exploration and learning. Young children will enjoy chanting along as the book returns kerplop, the computer keys clickety click, and the printers screech zippedy zing. But, despite some of the subtle humour (such as the traditionalist mayor’s browsing through the dinosaur section of the library), the story lacks a bit of the charm of the original.

      The illustrations consist of colourful cartoon-like drawings on a white background. Some cover an entire page, while others are smaller and are placed between the lines of text, particularly in the repetitive sequences. Carter very effectively captures the characters of the cool librarian and the old-fashioned mayor. To illustrate a repetitive book must be quite a challenge: the phrases repeat and the setting remains the same throughout the story. Though Carter’s illustrations are cute and appealing, there is a sameness about them. Perhaps the addition of a few more details (besides the little mouse) would have enhanced the story.

      Nevertheless, Too Much Noise in the Library is a fun read-aloud for young students.


Gail Hamilton is a retired teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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