This is a loving, affirming book.
— Julie Danielson

When the late Bill Martin Jr.’s name is attached to a picture book, you want to take notice. The author of more than 300 children’s books, he’s the man behind the beloved Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, as well as Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.

This is a book that looks at young creatures, including humans, all over the world. They all wake to a new day with parents by their sides. The book explores, in very basic ways, their sounds and habitats. It all kicks off on the first full spread with the sunny, loving image…of (human) mother-and-child duos. “Good morning, little one,” the mothers ask. “Can you hear the sounds of our world?” The following spreads feature various animals and the sounds they make—and with two simple sentences on each page, the last one noting which habitat constitutes “their world.” 

With such spare text, Sweet has lots of room to show off her talents with watercolors and mixed media. Her palette is dominated by warm earth tones. (The bright red on the spread featuring the eagles steals the show.) Even if groups of animals are showcased, she always lets the parent and baby take focus on each spread. Several times, she switches from a horizontal orientation to a vertical one, such as with those eagles, who are “high above the mountain peaks”; the panda bears, whose world consists of the bamboo forest; and gila monsters, surrounded by the tall cacti of the desert. 

The book closes with further facts about each animal, sparking further reading for the very young readers at which this book is aimed. 

Find LISTEN TO OUR WORLD at local independent bookstores through IndieBound, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or in your local library.

Readers of all ages will be charmed by the warmth of Melissa Sweet’s illustrations in this celebration of our world. The illustrations pulsate with greens and blues, laid out in mostly horizontal double-page spreads, though they occasionally require the book to be flipped sideways, the spreads shooting up vertically (appropriate for the large cactus surrounded by gila monsters). Giant pandas, too, climb a vertical spread, before the long, snapping crocodile turns the book horizontal once again. Martin and Sampson’s spare text emphasizes the sounds each of these lively creatures make: the lion ROARS, of course, but the eagle weee-aaas! Each sound is repeated several times, allowing plenty of opportunity for mimicry, and the environment of each creature is also acknowledged. The book opens with Mommy’s wake-up kisses (“Good morning, little one. Can you hear the sounds of our world?”) and ultimately comes
full circle, ending back at home with good-night kisses and the hope for sweet dreams. End notes include the habitat for each creature mentioned and a short, interesting fact. There is so much of interest here that lucky listeners will want to experience it again and again before sleep. Pair with Mary Logue’s Sleep Like a Tiger (2012) for another bedtime book connected to the animal world.
— Booklist, starred review
On the title page of this simple and thoroughly inviting picture book, the universe appears vast and quiet, but zoom down to Earth and there are a great many habitats and inhabitants that make up our world. “Listen! Listen! Listen!” mommies say to their little ones, as each page turn reveals a colorful spread depicting a specific ecosystem, related animal family, and appropriate animal sound.“Around a giant kapok tree, bright parrots flit and fly. The rain forest is their world. Squawk! Squawk! Squawk!”….this book is so visually rich that children will quickly be searching the pages for words to shout. Some sounds are familiar (“Hiss!” “Roar!”), while others offer readers something new(“Weee-aaa!”), but all are engaging and fun to repeat. Once again, Sweet has masterfully combined watercolor, handmade papers, pencil, and paint to create horizontally and vertically oriented pages that are a feast of color, shape, expression, movement, and, of course, sound. Further facts about the 11 habitats and animals are provided at the end. VERDICT A delightful introduction to the variety of environments that make up the world we live in. Highly recommended.
— School Library Journal, starred review
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