Friday, May 19, 2017

Literary Logorrhea! Be Quiet! by Ryan T. Higgins

Rupert the mouse is an aspiring author who is going for a trendy genre.

"Finally! I get my very own book to star in.

I am going to make a wordless book. They are more artistic.

This book will have no words at all.


It's not that Rupert and his rodent cohorts, Nibs and Thistle, don't have any literary experience, They have been minor characters, walk-ons, a mousy Greek chorus, so to speak, with limited dialog in Ryan T. Higgins earlier hits, Mother Bruce and Hotel Bruce (Mother Bruce) (see reviews here). But now Rupert is ready to author his own avant garde creation, but his buddies, Nibs and Thistle, didn't seem to get the memo.

"Wowee! said Thistle. "A wordless book! Can I help? Oops! I'm talking.... I'm talking about talking!"

"Shhhh! said Nibs. "The book has already started! You are messing it up!"

"Quiet!" shouted Rupert "This book must be visually stimulating!"

"What does "vishery strigulating" mean?" asked Nibs.

The life of an author is not an easy one, in Ryan T. Higgins' latest, BE QUIET! (Disney Hyperion, 2017). Starrom om a wordless book just can't stop Nibs and Thistle from continuously talking about not talking. Their colloquy strays into the metaphyscial meaning of silence, conjures up a superhero, Captain Quiet, Vocabulary Vigilante, and launches into an extensive discussion of the old question of whether a falling tree makes a noise if no one is there to hear it. Nibs obligingly chops down a tree to check. It falls on Rupert.

"Did the tree make a sound?" Nibs asked.

"Hard to tell with Rupert shouting," said Thistle.

Author-illustrator Higgins' alter-ego, Rupert the mouse, fails in his first literary effort, but Higgins' third book succeeds as a comedic riot, with ironic humor, clueless but endlessly loquacious characters, slapstick action, gleeful sight gags and even a cameo appearance by grumpy bear Bruce and one of his adopted goslings to tie Higgins' series together. Sophisticated yet silly, this one hits a new high in absurdity when Rupert finds himself fiercely yelling...

"No onomatopoeia!"

Says Publishers Weekly, "Higgins breathes emotional life into his characters, visually and verbally, and his smart, laugh-out-loud comedy is expertly paced. Of course the project marches right off the cliff, but watching it go is entertainment gold."

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