Title: Be Quiet, Mike!
Author/Illustrator: Leslie Patricelli
ISBN: 9780763644772
Pages: unpaged
Publisher/Date: Candlewick Press, c2011.

Bing, bong, bing,
his rhythms would sing,
but poor Monkey Mike
heard only one thing…[…]
BE QUIET, MIKE!

In this rhythm filled picture book by Leslie Patricelli, Monkey Mike has made noise since before he was born. He bangs on pots and pans, tables and toys, tapping and slapping out beat after beat on anything he can get his hands on. All the while, his parents, sibling, teacher, and neighbors all tell him to be quiet. When he sees a drum set that he can’t afford in the window of a store, Mike resolves the issue in his own way by making a set out of household items and finally making a noise his parents can appreciate.

The bright colors on the cover are found throughout the book, adding to the frenetic energy that this little monkey has. The story is interrupted several times for the stark black and white pages that read in large letters “BE QUIET, MIKE!” in bold font, stressing visually the pause in playing. Mike also appears on these double paged spreads, perched atop the letters mid-swing with mouth open in a big “O”, as if he’s caught just as he’s (pardon the pun) getting his rhythm. This format varies at the very end, when Mike triumphantly stands atop the phrase “PLAY LOUDER, MIKE!” hoisting bananas in place of drum sticks high above his head.

While parents might not echo that sentiment with their own tapping toddlers at home, that’s really not the point of the story. This is a rollicking read, great for story time, music programs, or just fun for read-aloud. The rhymes and onomatopoeic text slip off your tongue, and readers should have fun with the words being used, especially when the drum set is complete.

DIGGETY DIGGETY
ZAT ZOOM CRASH!
COFFEE CAN COFFEE CAN
POT PAN SPLASH!

Use this book to encourage a child’s creativity to make their own music and/or musical instrument. And don’t forget to look at the jacket papers, where you have various percussion instruments identified in the front, and then their household equivalents shown in the back. I’ll leave you today with the video for Turn the Beat Around, sung by Gloria Estefan, which I think you could definitely pair with this book.

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