It seems like lately everyone’s been asking “What does the fox say?” but children’s books have been asking this question (and others like it) since long before it was cool.
Not only are animal noises fun and engaging for children to read aloud or say along, but the variety of these noises shows kids that it’s okay to find your own voice. Or…most of the time it does.
In author Carrie Weston and illustrator Richard Byrne’s What Noise Does a Rabbit Make? (Andersen, September 2013) a young bunny named Raggety-Taggle hears the noises made by other animals on the farm and wants to find his own sound. Unfortunately for him, making noise only attracts a cat, who chases him through the farmyard. A dog chases the cat, then a cow joins in, then some others, leading to a cacophonous parade of animals. Quiet Raggety-Taggle is then able to slip away, unnoticed.
Though the book does feature a wider array of animal noises than a certain trendy Norwegian song, the message that I took away from the story was: Don’t speak out; it’s dangerous. While I love the book’s gorgeous sunset colors (and I’m not trying to knock the introverts of the world), the ending gave me pause: Raggety-Taggle muses “why anybody would ever want to make a noise at all” — which doesn’t seem to me to be the most positive and affirming message.