Too Much Noise in the Library — Perfect Picture Book Friday

518VByJUjEL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Too Much Noise in the Library

Author: Susan Margaret Chapman

Illustrator: Abby Carter

Publisher: Janesville, WI: Upstart Books, 2010.


Genre: Picture book, fiction

Audience Age: 5 years and up

Themes/Topics: Libraries, learning

Opening Sentences: Not long ago there was a busy school librarian. Her name was Ms. Reade, and she ran a lively, booming media center.

Synopsis: The school library is a vital, active, noisy place for learning and interacting with the resources and people in it. The pages immediately following those opening sentences give a delightful feel for the chaotic joy that is a part of this library experience.

Words and pictures dance all over the page. I just love the onomatopoeia in “Every day the book returns thumped, kerplop kerplop, the computer keys tapped, clickety click, the printers screeched, zippedy zing,” on and on, finishing with what becomes a chorus that kids will chime in to repeat, “and Adam asked a million questions.”

That is, this wonderful hubbub exists until the mayor visits one day. He believes libraries should be quiet and peaceful. He declares (loudly!) that there is too much noise in the library, and sets about taking away each thing that is creating the chaos, one by one.

In the reverse of a cumulative tale, the onomatopoeic recitation of noises gets shorter and shorter until there is nothing happening, not even any children coming into the library for books. (Not even Adam, to ask a million questions.) The mayor realizes to his dismay that the heart and life have gone out of the library. What do you suppose he does?

Activities/Resources: After reading this book, kids could suggest other onomatopoeic words that sound like what they describe – swish, splash, and so on.

The publisher, Upstart Books, has a publication Library Sparks that features “engaging activities to reach every reader.”

The website I Love to Teach has free activities and resources on onomatopoeia.

A trip to the library, either the school library or the public library, to discover what they offer besides books, would be a great activity to go with the reading of this book.

Availability: Readily available in hardcover online or through your local independent bookstore.

Every Friday, bloggers join together to share picture book reviews and resources, thanks to author Susanna Leonard Hill’s brainchild, “Perfect Picture Book Fridays.” Susanna then adds the books (and links to the reviews) to a comprehensive listing by subject on her blog. Find the entire listing at her “Perfect Picture Books.”


  1. This sounds like such a festive book, especially when libraries are thought to be silent halls, yet the wonderful joy of learning is sometimes a little noisy 🙂

    1. Festive is a fantastic word for this book, Angela! Thank you!

  2. My local library has small study rooms to reserve if you want quiet so the rest of the library doesn’t have to be. I’m loving the joyous sound of your book choice, Beth.

    1. Your library has the right idea, Wendy!

  3. I’m so curious, Beth! This sounds very intriguing.

    1. It’s a delight, Catherine!

  4. What a unique book about a bustling library. We always think and experience the opposite. The mayor is the villain — love it. I want to know what happens at the end. What a fun selection!

    1. Hope you’re able to find the book so you can learn how it turns out, Pat!

  5. Being a former school librarian, I would love this one, Beth. Thanks for sharing it!

    1. Oh, I hope you read it, Jarm — you’ll love it!

  6. Great choice. I love a noisy library! Not so much a noisy mayor…..

  7. Wow! I like the idea of a library being loud, and people loving it for that. 🙂 I like Adam 🙂

  8. I love the cleverness of an un-cumulative tale!

  9. This sounds like so much fun, Beth! I love all the onomatopoeia and I bet it’s very entertaining and engaging to read aloud! Thanks so much for adding this to our list 🙂

  10. I still feel the need to shush my kids in the library. I love the idea of it being a happenin’ place!

  11. Gone are the days when it used to be dead quiet. Gosh we even hold our SCBWI meetings in a partitioned off area of the library. Nice choice!

  12. Fun, fun, fun! This looks like it would make a great read aloud. Maybe I can read it to the kids during my volunteer librarian time. Great find, Beth!

  13. Your review has roused my curiousity, from the unique treatment of the plot, to the library theme, to the previously unknown publisher . . . Thanks with a capital T!

  14. Beth you are turning into my librarian with your recent selections. Thank you!

  15. Oh! I love the SOUND of this book!! I love a noisy library! Our public library where we go to read is a joyous, bustling place, but the school librarian wants all the kids to be QUIET! No talking! I always try to liven it up a bit when I’m there. I need to find this book! Thanks!

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