The Whisper (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

"The creative child who is drawn to writing or telling tales will love this book -- it invites the reader to help the main character complete (and perhaps endlessly revise) her imagined stories. A teacher loans a girl a magic book of stories, but the student finds the book devoid of words. At first forlorn, the girl hears a whisper that encourages her to invent her own narratives. The girl's exhilaration for creation also leads her to spin adventures inspired by what she sees outside of the book."

— Todd Wellman

This is a beautiful book about imagination. When the words disappear from a special book, a little girl has to make up a story for each picture. Clever fox, who caught the words in his net, asks her for a surprising favor after he returns the words. The breathtaking detailed mixed media illustrations are a perfect match for the story. As a bonus, readers can look for a fox, rabbit, bees and a crown on each page! This is a unique and very special book for all ages!

— Barbara Katz


Step inside the pages of a little girl's magical book as she discovers the profound and inspiring notion that we each bring something different to the same story. Two-time Caldecott Honor artist Pamela Zagarenski debuts as an author in this tender picture book about the joy of reading.

About the Author

Pamela Zagarenski is the winner of two Caldecott Honors. The books she has illustrated have also been Booklist Editor's Choices, Horn Book Fanfare and Bulletin Blue Ribbon books, winners of Bank Street's Claudia Lewis Award, and translated into many languages. As well as illustrating picture books, she creates paintings and has a gift card line. She lives in Connecticut. Visit her online at, on Instagram @sacredbee, and Twitter @sacredbeez.

Praise For…

* "A sumptuously illustrated fable about the magic of storytelling and the power of imagination."
School Library Journal, starred review

* "Surreal, staggering mixed-media paintings make traveling across such beautifully varied and bizarre storyscapes exhilarating."
Kirkus, starred review

"Tiny vignettes of the girl looking at these very images in her own treastured book create the sense that readers are reading it along with her...Zagarenski's artwork is irresistable"
Publishers Weekly

"The fanciful combination of opulent imagery and mysterious detail will have children imagining stories of their own."
—Horn Book Magazine

"[T]he fabulously layered paintings by two-time Caldecott honor winner Zagarenski are so beautifully constructed and lavishly painted — swirling patterns and honeycombs in the background, winsome creatures in the fore — that readers can’t help but fall for this book."
—The Boston Globe
Product Details
ISBN: 9780544416864
ISBN-10: 0544416864
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 6th, 2015
Pages: 40
Language: English