“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Listen, Listen • Lap board book

Listen, Listen
Phillis Gershator • illustrated by Alison Jay
November 2008 • Barefoot Books • Board Book
"Listen, listen...what’s that sound?”
Story: Take a seat, lay this big board book across your lap, and explore a bounty of telltale sights and sounds that mark the seasons. From summer’s sizzling sun to winter’s crackling snow, prepare for senses to be teased by Phillis Gershator’s lively rhyming words and Alison’s Jays lavish illustrations. Locate the ‘can you see’ pages at the back of the book and search for the animals, insects, flowers, and trees that are the harbingers of each season.

★ "Jay’s stylized pictures, with the texture of ancient frescos, are a window into a world in which the buzz of an insect and the whoosh of the wind lend surprising emotion. Illustrations filled with snowmen, anthropomorphized animals, and people running through a leaf-swept field will make children long to discover what is just over a hill or around the next bend. Capturing a summer idyll reading in a hammock with the same care as a warm evening by the fireplace, Jay invests each image with both joy and melancholy. This jewel of a book will draw children back again and again"—Booklist, STARRED REVIEW

"In this ode to the seasons, the sights and sounds of a picturesque country village are artfully evoked. Under the summer sun, 'Leaves rustle, hammocks sway. Splish, splash, children play.' In autumn, 'Pumpkins ripen, quick, quick. Apples, corn—pick, pick.' During winter, 'Crunch, crunch, boots clomp. Grown-ups shovel, children romp./Skaters spin, skiers glide. Zip, zoom, slip, slide.' When spring arrives, 'Pop, pop, bulbs sprout. Leaves grow, flowers shout.' Jay's crackled-varnish paintings have a nostalgic, folk-art quality. The rhyming, onomatopoeic text wraps around the busy scenes, and the words and art together provide a smooth transition between the seasons: 'summer's gone' is illustrated with a swarm of insects buzzing off the page. An appended 'can you see' game encourages close examination of the changing landscapes. Children will be inspired to 'listen, listen' in their own environments."—School Library Journal
Story behind the story: Listen, Listen marks the launch of the lap board book format for Barefoot Books. Meant for young children who are just learning the love of reading with their parent or teacher, the thicker pages of this edition allow small hands to grasp and turn them.
FYI: all the review copies for this title have been sent; please click on the "comments" link below for reviews to date from your colleagues.


Anonymous said...

My e-mail default is incorrectly set and I was highly interested in reviewing some of your featured titles. Any suggestions?

jlarkin said...

This book just arrived this morning and I LOVED it. The pictures are beautiful - so many things for young children to look at and find. And I love the text-the rhythm and rhyme, the sounds/onomatopoeia, how the text wraps around the pictures. Kids will love reading and exploring - especially the end where they are asked to find specific animals, insects and other items. A beautiful book!

A definite 5 - and a must at a picnic with children!

Kathy D. said...

This is a definte 5, so delectable that a picnic basket would be perfect in any season. Seasons, sounds, and nature are portrayed beautifully through the use of rhyming text and gorgeous illustrations. The "can you see" section is an added bonus as well as the larger size of the board book (23cm). I can't wait to devour this title with my PS!

ahslibrarian said...

Board books should be easy to handle, engaging, and fun. Listen, Listen fits that bill as Barefoot Books enters this market. Readers are encouraged to listen to the seasonal sounds around them, and there are plenty. From the newness of spring to the whispering snowflakes of winter, Alison Jay’s illustrations literally crackle with sound. The movement in the illustrations furthers the theme of listening and the characters are so generic that they overcome what some may interpret as a lack of multiculturalism.

The words are fun and can be easily matched to sounds and their illustrations. The cyclic nature the seasons was used to provide an ending that provided more confusion than clarity on a first reading. The point is necessary, but simplicity is essential.

There is no doubt about it, this is a fun book that can be shared together and then read again and again by a developing reader who embellishes the story with their own seasonal sounds. Add it with confidence to your collection, or buy a copy at any time of the year as a gift for a young reader.

4 out of 5

John Parker
Media Coordinator
Andrews High School
50 HS Drive
Andrews, NC 28901

Tiffany said...

Listen, Listen beautifully lays out the seasons for young and old readers in this lap size board book. Gershator's rhyming lines have a wonderful meter that never feels forced, and Jay's illustrations are soothing and graceful. The end pictures that ask readers to find the animals are an extra joy that older children will love. The format is very nice. This would make a wonderful bedtime book, and unlike most lap size board books, this book does not have the weight and bulk that make that difficult. Listen Listen is worthy of a 5. Be sure to take it on any picnic, no matter what the season.

Tiffany Torbeck
Youth Services Librarian
Bloomingdale Public Library
Bloomingdale, Illinois

loonyhiker said...

The illustrations on the cover and throughout the book were the first thing that grabbed me. I think they will appeal to young children immediately. This book would be great used with lessons on Sounds or one on Seasons. The text also uses rhyming words which would be great for a lesson on Rhymes. The author of the book also asks you to find specific pictures on the pages at the end of the book and these words would be great for a vocabulary lesson. I give this book a rating of 5 and feel that young readers of all ages would enjoy this book.
Pat Hensley
Greenville, SC

Sandra Stiles said...

I love the book "Listen, Listen". It arrived and I was reading it when one of my students asked to look at it. I teach middle school reading and also ESOL. My ESOL students loved the rhythm. They thought matching the sounds with the picture was fun. It came when I was teaching seasons to my ESOL kids. The ease with which it can be read is great. They loved the pages in the back where they had to find the different items. I give this book a 5.

Susan Mello said...

I love how this book uses all of the senses to engage the reader. It also invites imitation of the sounds. Many have posted about the beautiful pictures, but any words we write cannot do justice to the art work in this book. The technique of surrounding the picture with white space draws the eye and the reader into the scene. Phillis Gershaton and Allison Jay have truly created a masterpiece for our youngest readers. I would like to see this book published as a picture book also. I know my kindergarten students would enjoy it immensely. I give it a 5 out of 5!

Mama reads! said...

This book has fantastic language-poetry in motion for preschoolers. I plan on reading it to them Monday morning when they tromp up to the library. I love the feel of the book also-it feels solid in my hands. Barefoot books are always interesting and this one is no exception. I am glad to hear board books, especially this larger size, will be a new offering from this publisher. I give it a two thumbs up and an A-ok...or a five!!!

wordwarrior said...

Listen, Listen is a accomplished 5 on my list of books for young children. The illustrations are beautiful and the way the text wraps aroung the illustrations draws the reader from page to page. The writing is well done with a pleasant rhyme scheme. The addition of lists of items to look for on the pages in the back of the book are just icing on the cake. This book is a must for any picnic!

Ellen said...

The roundness of the pictures of Listen, Listen really drew me in. The crackled look of the pictures fit well with the color palette, although neither are my favorite. I enjoyed how it teaches about the seasons without beating it to death. The concept of auditory clues for the seasons is a refreshing twist. I find it difficult to find good board books to share with my Children's Literature class, but this one fits the bill. The various literary devices used on the right hand pages are examples that could be used with older children to identify the various devices.
I would give the book a 4.5

Lynn said...

The book is an excellent example of good literature for beginner readers. The illustrations were clear and bright and easy for children to see when the book is read aloud to them.

It is defintely a "5" star book!

Anonymous said...

As soon as I received Listen, Listen I couldn't help but sit down and read it. Such a wonderful story taking readers through the four seasons with the many different sights and sounds of each season. Well written with a plethora of vocabulary sure to keep students capitvated, especially with the fine artwork. This book is a "must have" for any library with elementary students. The hard board pages are a plus. I rate this book a 4.5

Julia Pitau
Media & Intervention Technician
Denair Charter Academy
Denair, CA

Mary said...

Listen Listen is beautiful book by Barefoot Books, which continues to fulfill its mission of celebrating art and story. Listen, Listen flows through the seasons with a rhyming text made up of sounds and sights unique to the various seasons. The text begins with the sounds of insects of summer. It glides smoothly into autumn, winter, spring, and finally back to summer with the sounds of insects once again.
The colors in the illustrations are soft and warm. Alison Jay used alkyd oil paint on paper and topped it off with a crackling varnish. This gives the illustrations a pleasantly aged appearance, which makes the book feel like a treasure given by a much loved grandmother.
Listen, Listen is a book that children will pore over again and again. I am donating my copy to the readiness class at my school. The topic fits in with its curriculum. My one criticism of the book is that the illustrations do not seem appropriate for a board book format. A board book is generally for the youngest children and uses bold illustrations in bright primary colors. The illustrations in Listen, Listen are more sophisticated than those usually found in board books. The colors are soft and muted. Each picture has lots of details that are quite small, especially on the “Can you see?” pages. I would have liked to see Listen, Listen published in a traditional picture book format.
I rate this book a 4.

Mary Kirk
Media Coordinator
Sherwood Forest Elementary School
Winston-Salem, NC

JJ85 said...

I received this book and it happened to go right along with a writing lesson I was doing so I read the book as a precursor to onomatopoeia. My 5th grade students really enjoyed the book. They loved the illustrations and the detail. I have several low readers and they have asked to see the book to read during our free read times. This book could be used in many different areas and in many different grade levels. I will definitely use this book again in other lessons. This book is a 5 no doubt about it.
J Justus
5th grade

JJ85 said...

I absolutely loved this book. I teach 5th grade and used it in my classroom to discuss onomatopoeia. My students were able to locate all of the poetic devices that we looked for and they loved the illustrations. I believe that this is a book that can be used across grade levels and used in many different subject areas. The illustrations are amazing and filled with details and I can see this book being used for science (seasons), English (poetic devices), and social studies for younger students (seasons, what you wear, etc). Overall I would rate this book as a 5.
5th grade teacher

Anonymous said...

Listen, Listen is a picnic for all the senses for all the seasons. The appeal of the page layout, illustrations and rhyming scheme is huge for young readers. I read it a few times....once so the kids could see the photos and the changes of seasons visually, once to really hear the words (like crunch, crunch) so they experienced the seasons by sounds, and once for them to close their eyes and use their imaginations of what each season is like.

Using this book for various aspects of themes....seasons, senses, and rhyming will be so much fun!

I would rate it a 5!

Allison said...

The rhythmic text and delightfully warm illustrations make this a successful lap-size board book for the youngest listeners.
The addition of the look and find pages for each season at the end of the book adds to the charm.

Rating: 5

Children's Librarian

Jacqueline Simmons, M.Ed said...

Greetings Everyone!

Listen, Listen arrived today and I immediately read it.The book is sweet and let me tell you the reasons. The cover is so appealing and peeked my curiosity. The book is very engaging with funny rhymes and stimulating illustrations. The paintings are simply gorgeous and the text is not boring. Kids will love this book. I love the size of the illustrations--they really capture the reader's imagination. The book is engulfed with onomatopoeia and children need to be introduced to different aspects of the English language (in the early primary grades). This book can foster critical thinking in young children due to the author questioning sounds around them, etc. I rate this book a 5--it is just that wonderful! I recommend this book in every primary grade classroom (PreK-1). This book should be a part of every school library.

Thank you,

Jacqueline Simmons, M.Ed

nerdndork said...

This book contains many interesting features. The pictures are full of vivid colors and packed with details. "Listen, Listen" can be used with students as a great book for inferences. This picture board book can lead to a nice discussion. I believe this book could also be used with older students.

I would rate this book a 5.

Anonymous said...

Listen Listen is a book that offers multiple opportunities for expansion.

The children enjoyed the beautiful illustrations combined with the fun sounds. A book that is requested to be read over and over...I plan on reviewing when I cover senses, seasons and rhyming.

The book is definitely a 5 star and I would highly recommend.

Cyndi Candiloro
Readsboro Community Library
Readsboro, VT 05350

nroamond said...

Listen, Listen is a charming trip through the changing of the seasons. The book is written in the rhyming model that so enchants young children. The art work is fanciful and eye-catching. My students especially enjoyed the “seek and find” format of the last four pages, although, young students might need assistance with some of the words. This book would be helpful to a primary science class studying weather or the different seasons. I would strongly recommend this book without reservation (4).

Anonymous said...

Great book to use teaching seasons and sounds. Lots to look at. Keeps kids engaged.

Mrs. Vyn said...

I highly recommend this book for early childhood. In preschool/kindergarten you could use it to talk about the seasons of the year. I like that the author took the reader through the cycle of seasons twice instead of just once. For 1-3rd grade could use as in a lesson of rhyming/poetry. My 3 year old at home and I sat down and read it as soon as it arrived and were sad when the book ended, but pleasantly surprised with the I spy pages in the back that correlated to the story.

Susan Appleton said...

I just got this book in the mail today and really enjoyed reading it aloud. The rhyming flows smoothly and gives such a rhythmical aspect as you read. The use of so many "onomatopeia" words is great to use with older children and the artwork is very detailed and beautiful. The book takes the reader through all of the seasons describing what you see and hear in each and then at the end, you review those seasons and the reader is challenged to find the things in the pictures that you would see. It is a well-made book (heavy board-like) pages which makes it easy for little ones to turn the pages. I really enjoyed it and would give it a rating of 5!

Brannin said...

My three year old loved this book and I did too. I liked the reader involvement pages at the end. The book had a good rhythm and flow to it as well. The pictures were visually stimulating from color choice to little details in the background. I especially liked the use of onomatopoeia; which helps develop vocabulary in young children.

This book is a 5 all the way around

Cynthia J. Winston, Georgia said...

Listen, Listen is the perfect book for taking outside to enjoy during a Book Picnic. It takes the reader through the seasons, with plenty of detail to examine.
There are fat wooly sheep grazing next to a river, a grinning dog sledding down a snowy hill, and orange and black ladybugs flying away with tiny suitcases.
Remeniscent of folkart, the illustrations are also rich in color. The reader sees a deep cobalt blue night sky sprinkled with tiny specks of snow. The mellow gold glow from a lit fireplace during a cold winter evening lights up a page.
Sounds pop throughout--chirping insects, honking geese, and plopping acorns.
How many sounds will your students hear, how many colors will your students see, and how much detail will they notice when they take a minute to "feel" the world during your class picnic?

A definite 5.

Y. Denise P said...

This book is a 5. I read it to my 7 year old and my 4th grade students. They absolutely loved it. The rhyming, when coupled with the beautiful artwork, was a definite hit. My fourth graders even started incorporating the words into their writing. I will, without a doubt, recommend this book.
Y. D. Payne

shelburns said...

I enjoyed this oversized board book. Kids love noises, and this book is full of them, from the noises the insects make in summer, to the silent sounds of winter. I can just hear young children mimicing the sounds that are read to them in this delightful book. Children love to learn about the differences in the seasons and this book will help them to do just that. The muted colors and rustic looking illustrations by Alison Jay, add character to this book. I especially liked how she added faces to the flowers and made them come to life on the page as you read, "Pop, pop, bulbs sprout. Leaves grow, flowers shout." An added bonus at the end is an "I Spy" like page for each season that I'm sure kids are going to enjoy. Even though this is a board book, usually for babies, toddlers and preschoolers will enjoy it as well. This book receives a 4 - recommend without reservation.

Lisa Kennedy, East Side Elementary School said...

My students loved the new book Listen, Listen. I have found that they most enjoy the cadence of rhyming stories and this book, written by Phillis Gershator, provides a lovely rhyming story without being silly. We followed the seasons throughout the book and were all happy when spring and summer arrived. The illustrations by Allison Jay are charming. The sweet faces of the many seasonal characters might be the reason the children most enjoyed the seek and find pages at the end of the book.

I would suggest it as a great book for small groups preschool or kindergarten audiences. Small groups would make it easier for the students to enjoy the illustrations to the fullest. I certainly recommend this book without reservation. A definite 4.

Lisa Kennedy
East Side Elementary School
Marietta, GA

Stacey D said...

I loved the musical way this book reads. It really allows children to "hear" the different seasons of the year. The pictures give the story that something extra. The hunt and find at the end of the book is great. I plan to use this in my classroom for our unit on spring. I will use this in small group allowing the students to find the items in each picture.
Rating 4

Rosalie Carr, Kindergarten teacher said...

What a great book! I strongly recommend this book to any one who likes to get lost in a story. I found the book to be an easy flowing read. My kindergarten students enjoyed the rhyming text. It is a
wonderful book to use when helping children learn to generate rhymes.
I used this book during Writer's Workshop to illustrate the use of and encourage the children to use "sound" words" in their writing. After reading we made a list of all the "sound" words we heard. We talked about what kinds of things make these words, then thought of some of
our own sound words. It is a great book to use when talking about
the seasons. We used the back page as a springboard to get us thinking about all the things you hear, taste, smell and feel during each season. After spending time really looking at the wonderful illustrations, I loved the warmth and peacefulness of each page, we made a mural for each season.

Listen, Listen is a book I am happy to have in my collection! It is a highly sought after book for all my students during free reading
time. I should probably buy several more copies! I will definitely
include this book in our going away gift to any student teacher! Thank you for sharing!

Rosalie Carr
Kindergarten Teacher
Fair Haven K-8 School
New Haven. CT

Stacy B said...

What a treasure! The stylized pictures, muted color palette and "crackled" appearance make this book a charming read. I enjoyed the melodic description of each of the seasons and I know the "I spy" section at the end of the story will make this book a favorite among the children I work with. My five year old son enjoyed finding the items hidden on each page and said he loved the "crackled" pictures because it "made the pictures look like puzzles".
I give this book a 4 for sure.


JK Huck said...

Listen, Listen by Phillis Gershator and Alison Jay is an outstanding book to use for teaching about the seasons, sounds, and adjectives. The wonderful use of descriptive sounds brings the book to life. Such a detailed images can be created from these pages, the book could almost be read with the listener's eyes shut. That, however, would be a great loss because the pictures are as detailed and charming as the words. This book deserves a 5 star

jan said...

This book arrived at the end of our unit on winter and it fit in perfectly. I teach kindergarten. The children were very interested in the illustrations and all that they could find in them, They also enjoyed the language; the sounds and the rhyming.They read this book over and over after I read it to them and especially liked the last pages where you look for items in each season. I love the illustrations and I would highly recommend this book for home and school.A definite 5!