The Sound of All Things by M. Uhlberg
Uhlberg, Myron. The Sound of All Things, illustrated by Ted Papoulas, Peachtree Publishers, 2016.
This is an autobiographical story about Myron, who is the child of two deaf parents, attempting to explain sounds to them as they spend a day at the Coney Island amusement park. The illustrations in this book are spectacular. Ted Papoulas captures not only the detail of the amusement park, the library and fireworks, he also captures whole stories in the expressions on people’s faces. All of the illustrations reflect the 1920s, when Myron was a child. Many of the illustrations have a dark tone to them, using browns for building interiors, street scenes and evenings, adding to a vintage look.
For a picture book this text is wordy, dense, and written at an adult reading level. Myron’s voice, however, is authentic. Only the child of a deaf person would be able to write, “My mother’s hands sat silent in her lap.” The text displays the intimate knowledge that Myron has of the deaf world and his struggles to translate sound to his parents. '“What does the ocean sound like?” “It is loud,” I answered again. “Don’t be lazy,” [my father] signed. I squirmed in my seat. I didn’t have enough words to tell my father what he wanted to know”'. Because the text is sophisticated for a picture book, it would be appropriate for upper elementary and above.
I would recommend this book for public libraries and school libraries and to anyone who teaches deaf children or children of deaf people.
Recommended: 3 stars out of 4
Reviewer: Sean Borle
Sean Borle is a University of Alberta undergraduate student who is an advocate for child health and safety.
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