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John's Whistle

Overview


Winner of:
Children’s Picture Book Bronze (tie), 2013 Living Now Book Awards

John is different. When other children began learning how to speak, John didn’t. As he grew older, whenever he had to ask for something or wanted to express his feelings, he would simply whistle. John began using different kinds of whistles for different kinds of reasons: he blew a gentle whistle to call attention, a louder whistle when he was hungry, and an even ...

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Overview


Winner of:
Children’s Picture Book Bronze (tie), 2013 Living Now Book Awards

John is different. When other children began learning how to speak, John didn’t. As he grew older, whenever he had to ask for something or wanted to express his feelings, he would simply whistle. John began using different kinds of whistles for different kinds of reasons: he blew a gentle whistle to call attention, a louder whistle when he was hungry, and an even louder one if something scared him. But everything changed the day he met Clara, a little girl with dark, dark eyes. This is a tender story that reminds readers that music is the true language of the soul, and that people’s differences can be resolved through good intentions and friendship.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
02/01/2014
K-Gr 2—John is different from all the other children in his neighborhood. He has never learned to talk but whistles to communicate instead. John manages to get his ideas across by varying the kind of whistle he uses, much like a baby alters her cry for different needs. His parents and friends accept this unique talent. At school, John's classmates love to hear him whistle and imagine what he is saying with each tune. The boy's friend Taleb also doesn't speak much but draws very well and plays the bendir (a type of drum). They make joyous music together. The narrative becomes convoluted when the friends both fall for a classmate, Claire. The story veers off topic with the introduction of the little girl and the damage it does to the boys' relationship. John plays with her in the woods and utters his first word when he loses her in a game of hide-and-seek, which causes him to yell her name. The protagonist's ability is held up as something unique and wonderful, but he partially abandons it, leaving readers unsure of the book's message. The stylized art features paper-cut sheet music and large size figures, but the horizontal page orientation makes it a difficult work to manage in storytime. Overall, children won't be drawn to this innocuous tale.—Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Kirkus Reviews
2013-10-01
Although John communicates only by whistling, he finds acceptance at home, admiration and friendship at school, and true love. That seems to be what this sweet story is about, although at the end, when he thinks he's lost the girl who has caught his eye, he finds his voice--so perhaps it's a story of late blooming rather than genuine acceptance of differences. Wimmer's curving, elongated figures are accentuated by the design choice to make this nearly square book open vertically rather than horizontally, awkward to hold. This is another difference to accept. Collaged-in bits of musical scores weave among the figures, suggesting John's thoughts; when he speaks, the notes appear in speech bubbles. The slightly surreal art complements this allegorical tale, a wordy picture book for older readers. There is one jarring note, perhaps introduced in the translation from Spanish. John's friend Taleb, who communicates first through his art, because he doesn't yet speak the language of the country, "stop[s] drawing immediately" when John is angry about their having feelings for the same girl, though they remain friends. But more than a new translation of the words will be necessary for this love story to find an American audience. Charming but elusive. (Picture book. 8-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9788415784128
  • Publisher: Cuento de Luz
  • Publication date: 11/1/2013
  • Edition description: Translatio
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author


Lili Ferreiros is the award-winning author and publisher of more than 20 books, including children's books. Sonja Wimmer is an award-winning illustrator whose work has been featured in books, posters, and magazines. Her illustrations for "The Word Collector "earned her Best Illustrator at the 2011 Moonbeam Children's Book Awards. She is also the illustrator of "Could It Happen to Anyone? "and "Story of a Cockroach."
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