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Listen by Holly McGhee, is a poetic book with interesting illustrations. A first quick read through had me smiling in delight. Let me tell about it, and then my final thoughts. 🙂
What I am reviewing
Holly M. McGhee
Pascal Lemaitre (illustrator)
Roaring Brook Press.
32 pages, age 4-7, trade paperback
Reviewed for Raincoast books.
values, environment, senses, empathy, listen
with your heart.
It is your ears
your hands –
Author Holly M. McGhee and illustrator Pascal Lemaitre ask you, me, and all of us to inspire empathy by exploring what it means to be connected to everything, including the natural world. Simple and tender, Listen teaches us to engage our senses, to taste, see, and feel in order to engage with the world around us.
The Details of Listen
Oh… what a poetic book. Poetic lines fill every page. Calling us to use all our senses. To feel, smell, and hear the world around us.
Listen to the world around us. Listen to the people are in this world. Hear the stories they share.
Complete with oh… I love the drawings. They are so whimsical. They fit the mood and atmosphere of the poem that Listen is. The youngsters walking through sunflowers, or listening to a bird, or digging in the dirt. It all just fits really well.
What I think of McGhee’s book Listen
I have to admit this… I have VERY mixed feelings about this book LIsten by Holly McGhee. Much of me likes it… because it’s interesting and poetic and makes me think. I like that!
But when I stop and think about the words it feels very … like it’s trying to promote a philosophy of living, a faith system of sorts. And as such I can’t fully and easily recommend it.
On one hand I see the inclusive nature. The air, the water, the sun… it’s shared by all of us. Can’t be owned by anyone. These physical, tangible things are what we all share in common. She started to lose me when she said “the food I eat is also the sun is also the rain”. Just alarm bells?
But my story is MY story. It’s not yours. It might be similar, might have familiar themes, but it’s still mine. NOT yours. Your story isn’t mine, though I might emphasize with it. My history, my thinking, my faith are rooted differently than your history, thinking, and possibly your faith. These things are not all the same.
But should we be willing to listen? It hear the sounds of our own feet, and to hear the sounds of others? For sure…and that generalized thinking is what I like. So.. mixed feelings. The poetic part of me wants to say “read this book and ponder the words” and the parenting, faith-oriented part of me wants to say “Be careful with words momma, be careful Dad, your children are listening…what are they hearing?”