Understanding the universal language of music clearly helped David Ouimet (formerly, a noise rock band musician) craft the beautiful language of “I Go Quiet”, rich with evocative musical connotations. It tells of a little girl who feels timid, small and misunderstood. She feels out of place, the note that’s not in tune and she goes quiet, making no sound and singing silence as loud as she could until eventually, she finds her way and her dream of one day making a shimmering noise… Stealing the words of the famous Clive James, David Ouimet can “turn a phrase until it catches the light”. His beautiful words are matched by equally amazing illustrations. Some monochrome, some black and white with an occasional dash of sunlight. I find this picture book transfixing.
“I Go Quiet” has been shortlisted for 2021 Kate Greenaway Awards. See David Ouimet speak about it here. It has also been shortlisted for 2021 West Australian Young Readers’ Book Award (readers choice).
Every time reviewing a book I start with some research into its creator, especially one who is unfamiliar to me like David Ouimet. Not surprisingly, I have found his persona and life journey as quirky and charismatic as his debut children’s book “I Go Quiet”. Prior to engaging in illustration, David had a brilliant career as a rock band musician (with Cop Shoot Cop and Motherhead Bug) being busy songwriting, editing, performing, recording and touring. His creativity must know no bounds, because despite his success as a musician he moved onto other pursuits such as illustrating books, making street art and modelling for magazines, billboards and major ad campaigns. A fascinating diversity of interests. Here are some examples of his street art.
One of the beautiful street art murals shown above appears in “I Go Quiet” book too:
“I Go Quiet” resonates with me on a few levels. I grew up a shy child and did not find my voice until much later in life. I’ve always loved to read and “I Go Quiet” celebrates the value of reading beautifully. The misunderstood and lonely girl finds refuge in an old library and immerses herself in the world of books which lift and shift her feeling of being so small in a large and hostile world. She starts to believe in herself, sees her connection to everything around and has an opportunity to one day make a difference.
This book’s theme and the excellence of its visual story-telling are on par with one of my favourite Shaun Tan’s books “The Red Tree” (reviewed here). I am delighted to have discovered the talent of David Ouimet. Can’t wait to see what he does next.
Click here to check out the fabulous sequel to this book “I Get Loud”.
Title: “I Get Loud”
Author: David Ouimet
Publisher: Canongate Books