The perfect book to read while snuggling

A dog says “woof.”

Cats meow, horses neigh, cows go “Mooooo,” sheep say “Baaaaaaa,” and chicks peep-peep-peep. Every animal around the world, from living room to jungle, has something different to say. As you’ll see in the new book “Quiet” by Tomie dePaola, though, sometimes it’s best not to say anything at all.

Zoom. ZoomZoomZoom.

Grandfather noticed that everything is faster these days — much faster than they were when he was a little boy. Birds seem to fly swifter, dogs want to race harder, frogs are jumping higher, animals above the ground and beneath it want to scurry quicker, even the leaves on the trees seem like they’re taken by a wind that blows much stronger.

“Everything is in such a hurry,” Grandfather says.

But he knows one thing that hasn’t changed in all his years: there’s always a good time to slow down. There’s always a reason to sit and observe what happens around you. And if you look, there’s always a good place to do it, too – like a warm patch of grass, a big soft chair, your mother’s lap, your bedroom, or a park bench in a quiet corner.

Birds know when a rest is needed, so they sit on a branch and softly sing. Your dog understands that when he’s tired, it’s time to nap. Frogs take a minute to listen and insects stop to look around. Even trees know that they don’t have to move all the time, that they can stand silently.

There’s always a time when it’s good to sit and be “quiet and still.”

Don’t move. Just breathe without saying a word. Think quietly, without squirming or running around. Shhhhhhh. Open your eyes and watch silently. Listen for the sounds outside your window or the noises from another room.

Says Grandfather, “To be quiet and still is a special thing.”

Your little one wiggles. He squirms. She fights naps like a World Heavyweight Champ so now’s when you need something to create an atmosphere of calm and to settle a child who’s constantly on the go. You need to slow things to a crawl. That’s when you let beloved author Tomie dePaola do his magic with “Quiet.”

Indeed, you know you don’t need anything exciting just before naptime, and the story inside this book is just right: it’s one of few words, each of them begging to be read aloud in the softest manner possible. As you go through that simplicity with your child on your lap, you’ll notice that there’s not a lot of action in the illustrations, either; you’ll find a few tucked-away surprises and small bits of enchantment, but the artwork is mostly softly colored and serene, with nothing too stimulating or overly-busy. Even the characters on the last few pages sleepily reflect the title goal.

And if that’s your goal, too, then this is the book to try. “Quiet” is a toddler’s ideal blankie-and-a-story tale. It’s the perfect snuggle book for 2-to-4-year-olds. Crack open its pages, start reading, and you won’t hear a peep.

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Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in a neighborhood near you. You can read more of her writing on her website livingwithgleigh.com. To see her columns come to life, follow her on Facebook at Living with Gleigh by Gretchen Leigh.
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