Parents' Guide to

The Whisper

By Jan Carr, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 4+

Entrancing art invites readers to write their own stories.

The Whisper Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

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Pamela Zagarenski's art is fabulous, tailor-made for fables and other classic tales, and readers will lose themselves in its fantastic, magical detail. In this book, her first foray into writing as well as illustrating, she invites readers to riff on the images by giving each illustration an intriguing story start that trails off just as it has us hooked. For instance: "Blue Bear arrived on the first day of spring. He promised … " Or: "Before long, enormous white whales filled our once calm harbor. Amazing as it was to see, we had to do something quickly to ... " What happens in the story after that? It's up to the reader to imagine. Since each page turn starts a new story, the book can't be read quickly, otherwise the interrupted narrative feels choppy. Better to read it leisurely, on a night -- or over many nights -- when caregiver and child have time to pore over the art and talk at length about where the stories might go.

Will young readers wish Zagarenski had provided the full stories? We all enjoy being taken on a ride, and with art that's so transporting, we want to be transported. But her opening lines, as inventive as her art, evidence savvy storytelling know-how and capture our attention, and the dreamlike images can inspire budding storytellers with rich, fertile story fodder.

Book Details

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