Noisy Night

Book review by
Jan Carr, Common Sense Media
Noisy Night Book Poster Image
Guessing game with rhymes makes apartment noises fun.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Rhyming "aw" sounds. Identifying sounds from sound and visual clues. Shows a bit of what apartment living looks like. 

Positive Messages

Implicit in art: Apartment buildings can include people of different races and backgrounds. Couples can be people of different races.

Positive Role Models & Representations

People of different races live harmoniously in an apartment building, despite noise distractions.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Noisy Night, written by Mac Barnett (author of Caldecott-Honor books Extra Yarn and Sam and Dave Dig a Hole) and illustrated by Brian Biggs, is a rhyming book that strives to ask the question posed by apartment dwellers everywhere: What in the world is going on upstairs to make so much noise? The book starts at the bottom floor and works upward, each resident asking about the floor above, "What is going on above my head?" The sounds made on successive floors rhyme, and there's repetition, with opportunity for prediction. The building houses residents of various races, including a black and white interracial couple, and funny animals. This book melds a clever lesson on sounds rhyming with "aw" with good, silly bedtime fun.

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What's the story?

NOISY NIGHT is the story of a 10-story apartment building at bedtime. A young boy on the first floor can't go to sleep because someone "is going La La La" above his head. Turn the page to reveal an opera singer, who asks, "What is going ma ma ma above my head?" Turn the page to see a baby, who hears "BAA BAA BAA" above him. And so on, up the 10 flights. In this noisy apartment building, there's a sheep, cowboys, a girl playing a trumpet, a crow, cheerleaders, a couple dancing, and finally a cranky old man hollering, "GO TO BED!" So everyone does!

Is it any good?

Apartment dwellers everywhere will relate to this fresh and funny book about all the crazy, unidentified noises coming from the floor above and preventing sleep. As Noisy Night follows the trail of sound up 10 floors, author Mac Barnett skillfully provides kids with the opportunity to guess the source of the sound before they turn the page for the answer. He's also built in a sly, seamless phonics lesson, since all the sounds ("RAH RAH RAH," "cha cha cha") rhyme with "aw."

Illustrator Brian Biggs' bright, eye-catching art provides clever visual hints, each time showing a sliver of the floor above. And he presents racially diverse residents, including an interracial couple. If kids who don't live in apartments have trouble visualizing the lay of the building, they can flip to the cover where it's pictured in full, with each noisy neighbor pictured in silhouette -- more chances to guess who's who! As the neighbors whoop it up and the noises stack up, so do the simple lessons in this antic bedtime story bracketed by a young boy on the bottom floor and an old man on the top just trying to catch some sleep.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the noises in Noisy Night. Can you guess who's making each one? Which clues are in the pictures?

  • How many floors are in the building? Can you count them in the story and on the cover?

  • If you peek in the windows on the cover, can you figure out who's on each floor?

Book details

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