Be Quiet!

  • Be Quiet!
  • written and illustrated by Ryan T. Higgins
  • published by Disney Hyperion (2017)
  • Roar Score: 5/5

Be Quiet! is a gorgeous wordless picture book. Well, at least, that’s the idea. But the characters don’t seem to get the message or understand what “wordless” actually means.

Before we even get to the first page (the story actually begins on the inside front cover), Rupert the mouse breaks the fourth wall and informs us that he’s going to make a wordless book. They’re very artistic.

The trouble is, Thistle and Nibbs are two incredibly chatty mice who are in love with the idea of a wordless book. They just can’t seem to stop talking long enough to actually make one. And Rupert is quickly running out of patience.

Listen, I love wordless picture books. I do. They ARE very artistic. They ARE visually stimulating. So maybe that’s why this book struck a particularly sensitive funny bone for me.

Well, that and Ryan Higgins’s art, which is just adorable. Seriously, I would read a book the size of War and Peace if it starred Thistle and Nibbs. I love these guys. On top of their dangerously cute character designs, they also have magnetic little personalities. And the interplay between them will cause you to literally laugh out loud.

The other reason why Be Quiet! hits all the right notes for me? As someone whose day job is in publishing, I connected with Rupert’s struggle on a deep, personal level. His mounting frustration is EVERY EDITOR’S frustration during development. He is every editor who had a brilliant concept or idea at the beginning of a project only to see it thwarted at every turn by committee.

Thistle and Nibbs might have my heart, but Rupert has my empathy and compassion. I feel for you, my little mousey brother.

This one comes with our highest recommendation. Hilarious, beautiful, and tons of fun to read aloud.

(Disclosure: Disney Hyperion provided me with a review copy of this book. All opinions remain my own.)

Jamie is a publishing/book nerd who makes a living by wrangling words together into some sense of coherence. He's the founder and owner of The Roarbots and also a contributor to Syfy Wire,, and GeekDad. On top of that, he hosts The Great Big Beautiful Podcast, which celebrates creativity in popular culture, science, and technology by talking to a wide variety of people who contribute to it.

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