Book Review: The Sound of All Things

The Sound of All Things
Myron Uhlberg; illustrated by Ted Papoulas

A young teen is frustrated because his father is always asking him what things sound like. He doesn’t have the words and when he tries it isn’t good enough. His dad is deaf and so is his mom. He sometimes wishes he had normal parents. Myron Uhlberg and Ted Papoulas’s The Sound of All Things takes place in the vibrant Brooklyn of the nineteen-thirties, mostly on Coney Island on a sunny day when the beach and the amusement park are swarming with people. The illustrations are like a colorized movie from that era, lush and full of detail. Every corner of the illustrations has its own sound. We know the sounds, but, just like the deaf father, we can’t hear the sounds. The illustrations are as silent for us as Brooklyn is for the deaf parents. How to describe the sounds?

The underlying story of The Sound of All Things is the boy’s everyday struggle for empathy with his parents. He gains a whole new way to communicate with his parents when he goes to the library and the librarian introduces him to poetry. Poetic words describe how things sound and so much more.

This picture book is good for all ages. Check it out. Ponder the themes and enjoy.

David Blake
Fiction Department
Central Library