What’s That Noise? (This book is calling you…)

Translated from the Portuguese, this is in every way an artist’s book as well as a picturebook. The images incorporate dots and symbolic forms that are simplified and diagrammatic versions of glasses, traffic cones, fruit and landscape. The reader is taken on a journey from an urban environment through forests, across rivers and towards a sound that the book says is summoning the reader. This is an almost abstract rendering of experiences about engaging with nature in a narrative about making friends with, and protecting, a worm that is inside an apple.( I suspect here that Irish and UK readers might see the worm as a caterpillar.)

What is fascinating about this book is the way that it asks the reader to interact with it in ways that are stimulated by reading the suggestions on the page, but are actually about physically interacting with the book. Thus, the initial urban page asks the reader to press their ears to the page in the hope of hearing a voice. The next page asks the reader to put their hands on the symbolic hands on the page, then to patter their fingers on the page ‘like a drum roll’ whilst announcing ‘let the adventure begin’. As the reader moves through the book, tapping and turning pages, using one’s fingers to ‘follow the trail on tiptoe’, or to visualise dipping one’s fingers in a cold river, it becomes clear that the creators are trying to encourage the reader to use all their senses in engaging with the text. An engaging experiment.