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6 Reviews
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Irving's children's stories
Anyone wishing to read this children's book should be made aware that it is taken from John Irving's excellent novel 'A Widow For One Year'. In this novel one of the characters is a writer of childrens books which reflect his grief at the deaths of his two teenage sons. The childrens books are richly described in terms of text and illustrations and contribute greatly to...
Published on 19 Aug 2005 by Elaine

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24 of 33 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Sound Like Someone Trying Not to Make a Sound
As a grandpa to boys of 8 and 6 years of age, I am enjoying a second bout of reading children's books, both to myself and aloud to them. I approached this book with great expectations only to be sadly disappointed. The story is gloomy, humourless and frightening; my criticism is summed up by the tale ending with a frightened 2-year-old left alone and awake all night...
Published on 26 July 2005 by P. O'DONOGHUE


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Irving's children's stories, 19 Aug 2005
By 
Elaine (Belfast, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Anyone wishing to read this children's book should be made aware that it is taken from John Irving's excellent novel 'A Widow For One Year'. In this novel one of the characters is a writer of childrens books which reflect his grief at the deaths of his two teenage sons. The childrens books are richly described in terms of text and illustrations and contribute greatly to giving the reader an insight into the mind of the character. Therefore this book 'A Sound Like Someone Trying Not To Make a Sound' would be appreciated by fans of 'Widow For One Year', but will probably confuse and disturb those who treat it as separate from the original novel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Curate's Egg from Irving, 19 Dec 2008
By 
Ichabod J (Farleigh Wallop, Hampshire) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: A Sound Like Someone Trying Not to Make a Sound (Hardcover)
It's been pointed out elsewhere that the story in this book has been taken from Irving's novel 'A Widow for One Year'. In the novel, it has been written by a children's author character who has lost his two young sons, and whose marriage is imploding under the weight of grief and blame.
Away from the context of its tragic novel source, this little tale may seem odd and slightly unsettling. Having said which, it's beautifully illustrated and my four year old daughter (who hasn't read the novel!) finds it utterly intriguing, probably because it's different to most kids picture books. I wouldn't agree that it's too disturbing for young minds; if anything, its depiction of children being troubled by their own imaginations may resonate with many youngsters and help to show them how the imagination can play tricks.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A mesmerizing gem, 25 Aug 2013
By 
Cheshire Cat Jez (Cheshire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Sound Like Someone Trying Not to Make a Sound (Hardcover)
As a stand alone book, without the context of Irving's adult novel, this is a rich and beguiling book for children and adults. It is book that draws many questions from it's reader. The worries that children have when they wake in the night are universal and Irving shows a good appreciation of this. The plot device of not seeing the Father adds to the mystery and generates a series of further questions.
This would be an excellent book to use in Philosophy for Education and for stretching young readers in general. It is beautifully illustrated by Hauptmann: the pictures full of a eerie tension and puzzlement for the reader. The illustrations would be a great stimulus for creative writing for teachers.
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24 of 33 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Sound Like Someone Trying Not to Make a Sound, 26 July 2005
By 
P. O'DONOGHUE (New Barnet, Hertfordshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
As a grandpa to boys of 8 and 6 years of age, I am enjoying a second bout of reading children's books, both to myself and aloud to them. I approached this book with great expectations only to be sadly disappointed. The story is gloomy, humourless and frightening; my criticism is summed up by the tale ending with a frightened 2-year-old left alone and awake all night with horrors induced by his brother and his father. I shall not read this story to children. That it gets any stars at all is due to the splendid illustrations by Tatjana Hauptmann. My wife fully concurs with these opinions.
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5.0 out of 5 stars John Irving childrens story, 1 Nov 2009
By 
Mr. M. Hanson - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Sound Like Someone Trying Not to Make a Sound (Hardcover)
My children are 12 and 10 and to be honest a bit old for this book but I brought it for me really as I'm a fan of Mr Irving. Great story, be young again and enjoy!!!!!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Picturebook Like Someone Trying Not to Write a Picturebook, 10 Nov 2005
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This book opens with a spooky drawing of an old house in the night-time in the middle of nowhere. The picture somehow conveys suffocating, scary silence. Tatjana must be an amazing illustrator because her pictures really did creep me out a bit. She puts so much details into the pictures, making the simply innocent everyday objects like a coat hung up, mum's dress hooked on the wardrobe, very sinister. While talking of sinister things, the boy in the story has a teddy-bear who seems to be alive (as does his brother's clown, watch how he moves from his brother's bedside to sitting on the headboard looking at him sleep). The boy's teddy strangely stands up on his own, and in another picture the boy is seen standing outside his house looking round one way while the teddy is on the other side of the house looking the other way. Reminiscences of Chucky?!
The essence of the story is that a boy wakes up in the middle of the night and hears a strange noise. He believes this noise could be all sorts of things but finally comes to the conclusion that it is a monster. The description of the monster is brilliant! However, the kid then wakes up his dad who tries to speak some reassurance (hardly reassuring for the reader when they can't see the father and doubt whether he really exists) by telling his son that the noise is 'just a mouse crawling between the walls', but here the illustration seems to come away from the story because the mouse is not between the walls but between the wall and the wallpaper. The kid just sees a huge unlikely bulge in the wallpaper. At the end of the book the kid is still scared because he doesn't know what a mouse is, he thinks it is just another grown-up euphimism for 'monster'.
Although the content of this book must be aimed at older readers (at our library I notice we have categorised it for older readers as well) it is just too much to believe a child doesn't know what a mouse is in our time and I don't think this book will be popular with older readers. I definitely wouldn't read it to young children unless you are sure they can handle the imagery.
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A Sound Like Someone Trying Not to Make a Sound
A Sound Like Someone Trying Not to Make a Sound by John Irving (Hardcover - 1 Aug 2005)
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