Review of I Heard a Sound

I Heard a Sound
by David J. Ward; illus. by Eric Comstock
Primary    Holiday    40 pp.    g
7/20    978-0-8234-3704-7    $18.99

Bright, eye-catching digital illustrations provide the first signs of a stimulating adventure. Ward delivers on this promise but also offers a solid and informative introduction to one of the five senses, as readers/listeners are asked to notice, investigate, and learn about sound. The book opens with a young boy hearing a sound — a card catching on bicycle spokes. The author explains that the “card moves back and forth very fast” and that both card and spokes are making a sound because they are vibrating. Turn the page and there’s another sound, this time made by a cricket. “Its wings vibrate. That’s what makes the sound.” Listeners are then asked to take a Slinky-like toy and discover how to make sound waves. For those youngsters lacking the equipment, Comstock’s illustration clearly shows the process. This pattern, of ­introducing a concept and then ­providing simple experiments to demonstrate it, ­continues throughout, as readers are asked to create high and low sounds, a simple musical instrument (a pan flute), and a string telephone. Colored rectangles throughout highlight main ideas, and the repetition of words such as vibrate, as well as the concept that vibration creates sound, ensure understanding. Experiments requiring adult help are indicated as such, and many of the materials used are everyday items. The book concludes with a glossary. Imagine this sound — the ­vibration from two hands quickly ­clapping: bravo!

From the November/December 2020 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Betty Carter
Betty Carter, an independent consultant, is professor emerita of children’s and young adult literature at Texas Woman’s University.

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