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A Sound Like Someone Trying Not to Make a Sound    by John Irving & Tatjana Hauptmann order for
Sound Like Someone Trying Not to Make a Sound
by John Irving
Order:  USA  Can
Doubleday, 2004 (2004)

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

It's the middle of the night. Tom sits up in bed wide-eyed, with rumpled pajamas, and unruly hair. He asks his brother, 'Did you hear that?' But two-year-old Tim is fast asleep.

Tom awakens his father and asks the same question. Dad (being supportive) asks his son, 'What did it sound like?' Tom can't identify the noise specifically, but offers descriptions like 'a monster with no arms and no legs ... it wriggles ... slides on its fur ... pulls itself along with its teeth.' After searching rooms in the house, Tom's final call is that 'It was a sound like someone trying not to make a sound.'

Baby Tim awakens to hear his father say 'It's just a mouse crawling between the walls ... if it comes back again, just hit the wall.' Tom now secure, falls asleep. Unfortunately poor, wide-awake Tim doesn't know what a mouse is. So each time Tim hears the 'sound', he slaps the wall with his hand!

This story was originally part of John Irving's A Widow for One Year. Tatjana Hauptmann's illustration technique applies pencil strokes with blue watercolor wash, reinforcing the author's eerie dramatization of nighttime shadows and noises. A Sound Like Someone Trying Not to Make a Sound is a simple but delightful tale, enhanced by its muted illustrations.

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