Thursday, November 1, 2018

The Silence Slips In by Alison Hughes

Alison Hughes has created an imaginative personification of the concept of "silence."  This concept comes fully to life through the amazing illustrations of Ninon Pelletier.

The story opens with the line, "The Silence is shy and soft. Shaggy and Still."  Those words are placed within a serene double page spread of a girl sitting under a tree beside a lake with the most beautiful reflection of a sunset. She has a dog with her and peeking through the branches above her, the character of "Silence" is introduced.

Pelletiers illustrations offer a very beautiful combination of softened, pastel backgrounds with other images drawn with sharper detail and clarity. Sort of a contrast between the vivid objects of our life being surrounded by a gentle force and softened beauty.

The concept of embracing silence could be a good illustration for children who difficulties with being still. The story, when read aloud in a comfortable, quiet place (on a comfy couch or snuggled into bed), can have a calming affect. The illustrations offer a gentle, quiet beauty to explore on each page.

Children are often afraid of the dark and may balk at bedtime. I loved how Hughes personified "Dark" as a partner to silence--working together as a team in these lines: "The Silence slips in at bedtime and greets its friend the Dark. They bring warm, soft blankets and settle in."  What a marvelous image for children to fall asleep to--the idea that the dark envelopes us in warmth and the silence is part of that magic.

I loved the contrast of the character, "Noise" which is a pointy-looking creature that sort of jars and jolts people.  Noise and Silence cannot exist together so Silence slips away to quiet places where a child can always join it: enjoying nature, fishing, or reading a book. Even in the midst of Noise, a child can summon the Silence by closing one's eyes and breathing deeply--good advice even for grownups.

As a Christian, I found that the use of a friendly companion called "Silence" could be a good way to explore the concept of quieting one's mind and heart to be more aware of God's benevolent presence and love for us--always present in the noise of everyday life.

I think there is tremendous value in teaching a child how to welcome Silence in a world marked by so much noise and so much frenetic activity. Children need time to slow down, and learn to find and enjoy moments of silence.  I highly recommend this book as a means of creating one of those warm, silent moments with your child.

Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of The Silence Slips In from NetGalley for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

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