BE QUIET, MIKE! ($14.99, Candlewick, ages 3-6), reviewed today by Lindy Michaels, was written and illustrated by Leslie Patricelli.

What kid hasn’t blown on a kazoo, pretending it was a trumpet?  What kid hasn’t let their fingers fly on a table top pretending it was a piano?  Well, from the time Mike, the monkey, was in his momma monkey’s womb, he was drumming to his own beat.  “Kick, thump, pow!”  It was a very active pregnancy for momma monkey, to say the least.  And once Mike was born “…He played with his fingers, he played with his feet, a funky little monkey, with a beat, beat, beat.”

As Mike grew bigger, there was nothing he came in contact with that didn’t become a… drum!  Banging on a wastebasket, slapping the water in the pool, clanking on a trash can.  And how was his creativity received by his family?   “BE QUIET, MIKE!”  But that didn’t stop this monkey as he grew older.  “He played on the table like a wild baboon…”  “BE QUIET, MIKE,” was what he heard day and night, over and over again. “Mike tried to be quiet, he tried to be still, but the beat in his heart, was stronger than his will.”

And then one day, he saw in the window of a music shop, “… a real live, full-sized jamming drum set”  “… an ape with long fur, beating so fast – arms and legs a blur.”

Ah, the sheer ingenuity of little monkey Mike.  He went home and used everything he could find in his house, like coffee cans and pots and pans and two sticks, to make his very own drum set.  And then he started to beat his home-made drums.  “Zat.  Zoom.  Crash!”

And just then his parents and sister opened the door to his bedroom.  Oh, yes, Mike certainly knew what was coming.  “BE QUIET, MIKE!”

But is that what happened?  I adore books  that encourage children to explore their bliss, even if it’s very, very loud!  Leslie Patricelli, the talented author and illustrator of the popular YUMMY YUCKYQUIET LOUDTUBBYTHE BIRTHDAY BOX and other fun children’s books, has done it again, when it comes to engaging children on their own level.  Now all you moms and dads,  go and give your little ones some pots and pans and let them go to town.  Just don’t forget some cotton for your ears!

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