A Quiet Girl Reviews

School Library Journal ★ Starred Review

Cover: A Quiet Girl Author-Illustrator: Peter Carnavas Publisher: Pajama Press“A pale girl with free-flowing frizzy brown hair, Mary does not say much and when she does, she speaks quietly. She climbs trees to hang her recycled jug feeder, whispers to birds, and swings and cartwheels outdoors….Illustrations feature both full-page spreads filled with soft colors and expansive views of the outdoor world, and smaller illustrations in simultaneous succession with plenty of white space….VERDICT A quiet young girl in a noisy world, Mary shows her loud, busy family that listening allows for more to be heard. With suitable tips on the practice of mindfulness, this title will be a welcome addition to every picture book collection.”
—Ramarie Beaver, formerly at Plano P.L., TX

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Kirkus Reviews

“This gentle Australian import exhorts readers to listen, pay attention, and, sometimes, unplug…The delicate, sweet line illustrations present brown-haired Mary and her family with beige skin and also depict creative ideas for recycling plastic bottles. A spread with simple mindfulness tips concludes the book.

A cautionary tale about listening closely in order to discover the world’s pleasures.”

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Seattle Book Review

“We rated this book: 5/5 stars…Peter Carnavas has written a sweet story that will show youngsters that there is a lot be gained from being quiet and seeing and hearing all the beauty that is around us every day. The writing is simply lovely. His enchanting illustrations are the perfect companion to the story, with soft, soft colors and wonderful details. This is a winner. Do not miss it.”

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Youth Services Book Review

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

What did you like about the book? This sweet picture book centered on Mary, a quiet girl, is all about finding quiet in your home and world.

Mary loves nature and spends her time outside listening, looking and feeling all the life around her. Her loving family is noisier. Her brother loves playing with his toy trumpet and her parents are always telling her to speak up. And then one day, Mary cannot be found, but she was right there at home all the time, just being quiet.

At the end of the story, there is a section about mindfulness, including a few ideas on how to make it a part of your day.

This book is perfect for SEL, Social and Emotional Learning, the idea of finding joy in nature and being quiet is important as never before. The colors that the author used are muted but distinctive and fit the story perfectly, and the illustrations are fun and sweet….

To whom would you recommend this book? Anyone who needs a quiet moment will love this book….

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes!”
Maria Touet, Malden Public Schools, Malden, MA

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Midwest Book Review

“A gentle, engaging, entertaining, and thoroughly ‘kid friendly’ picture book for children ages 5–8, A Quiet Girl by author and artist Peter Carnavas is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for young readers.”

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CM: Canadian Review of Materials

A Quiet Girl, a buoyant celebration of paying attention quietly, will appeal to preschoolers aged three through five and their caregivers….

The illustrations Carnavas provides to accompany his message-driven tale are cutesy cartoons rendered in his now-familiar bubbly style. These images certainly do reinforce the celebratory spirit of the book, which is a tribute not only to childhood innocence and whimsy, but also to tranquility. However, they seem to contradict his more profound message about mindfulness which is positioned as key through the resource page following the narrative, “Mindfulness: Feeling Quiet Inside”. The illustrations are many things, including adorable, energetic and fun, but quiet they are not.

This minor discrepancy seems unlikely to bother most readers, however. The intended audience of preschoolers and their caregivers will delight in the irresistible charm of A Quiet Girl and possibly even enjoy learning more about how to be mindful.

Michelle Superle is an Associate Professor at the University of the Fraser Valley, where she teaches children’s literature and creative writing courses.

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Sal’s Fiction Addiction

“The soothing artwork makes a perfect backdrop for Mary’s many discoveries. Plenty of white space keeps the focus on Mary and all that she loves in nature. Quietly beautiful, this tale offers a lesson in being mindful to all that surrounds us.”

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Sharon the Librarian

A Quiet Girl is a picture book that really resonated with me. I loved that the artwork was pastel and simple, not bright and shouting, so that it matched the personality of Mary….I think this book is a great family read, especially for those with a quiet family member or friend….I think the book can help readers understand the wonders that they might be missing, and to understand how other people might feel in a world that seems to be loud and in a hurry as a default.”

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“This book is an ode to quietness. Mary, a sweet little introverted girl, loves to experience that quietness. She focuses on the world around her and hears the beauty of a buzzing dragonfly, a lazy sleeping dog, and the rustling of leaves, just to name a few. She revels in and savers the minuscule things of life that she finds everywhere….

This Australian import encourages readers to practise mindfulness, disengage from the busyness of the world and be still. This enables them to listen and pay attention to the quieter things in their life. The illustrations are extremely well done and portray Mary as a very adorable little character. I highly recommend this book….Shhhhh!”

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Canadian Bookworm

“I love the illustrations in Carnavas’ books, both the way he draws nature and the quirky individualism of his human characters. But the other fantastic things about his books is the subtle, yet meaningful way in which he tackles larger issues and makes them real for kids….

The book includes a two page introduction to mindfulness at the end, giving some suggestions in how to be present in your world like Mary is in hers. I really like the last suggestion when they ask you to close your eyes and listen and identify the quietest sound that you can hear. Beautiful and simple to do and so, so satisfying.

Under the sound of my grandfather clock, the soft whish of my dehydrator in the kitchen, the hum of appliances, I can hear noises through the open window from outside, my cats’ quiet breathing as they sleep near me, and feel the breeze coming through the window.”

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Mr. Alex’s Bookshelf

“I think everyone can agree that the world is too loud. Especially during an election year, the noise can feel suffocating. And I’m an adult. How much more overwhelming must it feel to a child? Enter this sweet picture book by Peter Carnavas.

Frequently the heroines of our books and movies and TV shows are plucky, stubborn, sarcastic and brave. But the protagonist here is a quiet girl. Mary thinks quiet thoughts, steps quiet steps, and whispers quiet words. She is so quiet that sometimes she is overlooked. Rather than change however, she leans in to the quiet, noticing the soft, subtle sounds of nature, and eventually, she teaches her family to do the same.

The rhythmic, repetitive language acts as a soothing balm, as do the soft pastel illustrations….I barely needed the mindfulness tips Carnavas includes after the story concludes, although teachers and parents will find them helpful.”

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