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Reviews of Jewish children's books.
Using Literature to Build Jewish Values in Your Children

When The World Was Quiet
Let's go "Beyond the Book" with
When The World Was Quiet.

Ages 1-4

When Hashem gave us the Torah, the whole world was quiet. That is the background for this wonderful book.

This book describes for children, whose nashmas were there, a re-creation of the experience of that greatest event - the giving of the Torah in a world of quiet. And since we were all there at Sinai, the reading of this children’s book takes us into that special time and place. They can relive again, in a tender and sensitive way, what quiet really is.

Children love animals and the sounds they make intrigue them, but now what is described is the reverse:

The geese did not honk - The ducks did not quack
The sheep did not baa - The goats did not maa
The chickens did not cluck - The roosters did not crow...

The soft watercolor illustrations are delightful. What is most appealing and will make children feel happy and secure is when they see the animals in families - mothers and fathers and their babies happily living together.

To go Beyond The Book is to view quiet as a time that is positive. Usually we ask the children to be “seen and not heard” or to wait quietly until we finish our adult conversations. Children have to be quiet during school instruction and visits to the doctors and when their siblings are doing homework. And now look who is quiet -

Even the ocean does not crash and the wind does not swish.

There was no sound, except for Hashem’s voice
HE said - I am the one and only Hashem

And then in HIS quiet, quiet world Hashem gave us the Torah,
because HE loves

What does it sound like when there is absolute silence? How can we know? But for Shemaneh Esrei would we in today’s world of technology come close to understanding quiet. And even in that portion of the davening, there is some background sound. It might be the hum of the air conditioner or a child’s cry or a cough.

In our rush to live our lifestyle we are surrounded by sound. Headphones and cellphones and noise pollution interfere with that “still soft voice” that is inside of each one of us. For it is through those quiet moments, that we develop our creativity, our sensitivity, and our empathy for others. And in the description of the quiet in this seemingly simple children’s story, we can internalize how grateful we are that Hashem loves us.

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