The Whisper is a new release from artist Pamela Zagarenski, winner of two Caldecott honors, and it is beautiful. A young girl loves to read and loves getting lost in her books. She borrows a very special book from her school teacher, and when she gets home she is disappointed. The book has no words, only pictures. She has nothing to read. Just as she is about to put the book back on the shelf to read something else, she hears a whisper. It is coming from the book! The whisper tells her that she has the ability to create her own stories, to imagine them herself with the pictures as inspiration. She conjures up story after story from the book's illustrations. The stories become so real that she feels that she herself is inside the story.
I liked the way this story promotes interaction and engagement with art. I didn't learn to really enjoy art on canvas until I was an adult, and it really is a skill. Because the girl has to create stories from the picture she sees, she learns to observe a piece of art and appreciate details. This would be great to read and then go to our local art museum. We could practice imagining our own stories from the paintings we see. I recommend this book for upper elementary school kids. The pictures would interest any age, but the story is very lengthy and uses a vocabulary on the level of third graders and up. Younger readers might not be ready to engage with this story.