The Bookworm Sez 3-8-10 |

The Bookworm Sez 3-8-10

Terri Schlichenmeyer
LaCrosse, Wis.

“Hush! Can’t you sit down and be quiet?”

How many times a week do you hear that? Your teacher says it when your class is noisy. Grandma says it when she wants to hear something on TV. And Mom and Dad say it every time they think you’re playing too loudly.

You’re a kid, and kids scream and roar, laugh and holler and yell. But imagine if you had a teensy little voice and nobody could hear what you were saying. Imagine being a very quiet kid all the time. Find out what could happen in “Willow’s Whispers” by Lana Button, illustrated by Tania Howells.

Willow had a very tiny voice. It was so tiny, in fact, that all of the sounds that came out of her mouth were whispers. She wished that people could hear her loud and clear, but the words just slipped out, quiet and soft.

At school, when Julian and Jane asked Willow to sit with them for juice break, they didn’t think she wanted to join them. Willow wanted to sit with them very much, but Jane and Julian didn’t hear her whisper “I’d love to” so they didn’t make room for her and Willow sat all by herself.

When Mrs. Post offered Willow some juice and Willow asked for apple, please, she got orange juice instead because Mrs. Post didn’t hear Willow’s answer. Orange juice made Willow’s lip crinkle, and she didn’t like that very much.

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And when it was playtime, Kristabelle took the baby doll, pretending that she didn’t hear Willow say that she was playing with it. Even taking turns was hard for Willow: When Mrs. Post asked whose turn it was to lead the line, nobody heard Willow say “It’s my turn!” because her voice was soft and quiet.

At home, though, things were different because Dad was used to whispers. When bedtime came, Dad tucked Willow in and told her that he was sure everything would be OK. There was a big, strong voice stuck somewhere down inside her, and someday it would come out LOUD and CLEAR.

Willow tried to find those words. Every night, she planned to get them. She wished for them. She dreamed and hoped about finding big, strong words that everyone could hear. But then, she had another, better idea …

Love to add a little theater to your read-aloud sessions? Grab this one, because dramatizing “Willow’s Whispers” is going to be fun for you and your kids.

Author Lana Button tells the story of a gentle little girl who uses her creativity to find her big voice in a big way. Kids – particularly shyer ones – are going to love hearing about how Willow learns to stand up for herself. I also liked the simplicity of the drawings by illustrator Tania Howells: they’re colorful and cute, but they don’t distract from the story at all.

Grab this book, open it up, and be prepared to whisper a great storytime. For 3- to 7-year-olds, “Willow’s Whispers” is a book they’ll shout about.