Too Noisy! By Malachy Doyle and Ed Vere Walker, £11.99, 4+
They say silence is golden and, for Sam Bungle, the lone introvert among a cacophony of crashing, whistling, wheezing relatives, the calm of quiet is an irrepressible craving. So off he trots, all Dennis The Menace knitwear and pendulous dark scribble above his head, in search of some peace in the woods. Now, as those with even a fleeting interest in children’s literature will be aware, the woods are no place to go looking for peace. But Sam isn’t aware of that and, at first, tranquillity is exactly what he finds among illustrator Ed Vere’s lemony sun-dappled scribbly charcoal trees.
Soon night falls and the forest is plunged into darkness, which is when the real fun begins. Evocative illustrations in saturated hues so deep you’ll want to dive in set the scene, while poetic text in jazzy mixed typefaces brings the story to squawking, squelching life. Special praise must be reserved for the happy ending – so good he writes it twice.