by Val Teal
Robert Lawson, illustrator
New York Review of Books
Back Cover: CLANG! THUMP! WHOOSH! BANG! The big city is a noisy place. But the little woman doesn’t mind, the big city is her home. Then one day she is given a wonderful gift, a “pleasant, peaceful farm” in the country. The farm is nearly perfect—only with all the quiet, the little woman can’t relax. So she buys a cow, she buys a dog, a cat and a duck, a rooster, and a pig. Now the farm is noisy indeed. Still, something’s missing. She decides to return to the city for that one special thing she knows will make her farm feel just like home. And by the end of her tale the little woman is happy to find that even though she has no rest, she has peace of mind.
Opening: Once there was a little woman who lived in a big city. She lived there all her life. Motorbikes bumped by her door. Big trucks loaded with lumber and bricks rattled down her street. All day long people hurried past her window—newsboys yelling, children running and screaming, men shouting, women tap-tap tapping along on their clattery high heels.
About the Story: The little woman lived in a big noisy city. She lived on a big noisy street, in that big noisy city. Above her, a printer ran his presses. To one side, the shoemaker rapped on shoes. To the other, the carpenter banged and sawed his wood. The street was busy and noisy. The little woman sat near her window, knitting and looking out on her world.
Then one day, the little woman got a letter from a relative giving her a farm. Quite delighted, the little woman moved to the farm. It was a pleasant farm with lots of room, green pastures, and everything was peacefully quiet. Still, the little woman could not rest and had no peace of mind. She decided to buy some animals to get some noise on the farm. The mowing, barking, meowing, and quaking were fine noises but the farm was still too quiet. She needed the one thing that would liven up the farm and give it the noise she needed. The little woman went to the city. What she brought back made the farm noise perfect and the little woman had the peace of mind she desired.
What I Thought: I really enjoyed The Little Woman Wanted Noise. The illustrations are black and white line drawings that, according to the back cover, were drawn at the peak of his (Robert Lawson’s), talent and contains some of the most stunning and innovative black-and-white drawings in all of American picture-book history. All I know is I like the illustrations very much. They wonderfully convey the little woman’s noiseless problem and then her happiness when the noise becomes what she needs to rest.
This is the second New York Review of Books children’s collection book and like the first, Junket is Nice, The Little Woman Wanted Noise brings back early picture books in all their glory. Adults will love the memories these books will invoke, while kids will enjoy these older stories just like their parents, grandparents, and even great grandparents did many years ago. The New York Review of Book’s Children’s Collection all have the same book binding making them beautiful and unique; a lovely collection for any bookcase.
I like how this story reminds us that a bit of chaotic makes life better. We become so used to having certain distractions in our lives, whether it is the noise of the big city or the snoring of your husband at night, that when those things are gone, we feel a great need to bring them back. A nice quiet, peaceful life is only good for a short while. It can be difficult to feel safe, secure without those familiar sounds. The Little Woman Wanted Noise relates this to children and does so in a fun, and humorous way. The marvelous twist at the end of the story was unexpected and heartwarming. Children and their parents will adore The Little Woman Wanted Noise.
by Val Teal* (1902–1997)
Robert Lawson*, illustrator (1892–1957) wiki
Released September 24, 2013
Ages: 3 to 7
© 2013 by New York Review of Books, used with permission
Text: Copyright © 2013 by Val Teal
Illustrations: Copyright © 2013 by Robert Lawson
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