Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Review: Ellie's Voice or Trööömmmpffff by Piret Raud

by Piret Raud
Translated by Adam Cullen
Restless Books
Picture Book
40 pages

AUGUST 4th!!!

A touching and profound tale of friendship, differences, and acceptance from renowned Estonian children’s author and illustrator Piret Raud.

On the sandy shore of a big sea lived a bird named Ellie who had no voice.
“Everything else has a voice,” Ellie thought sadly. “The trees rustle. The waves crash.
Even the rain sings when it falls.”
“I’m the only one who can’t make a sound.”
Ellie felt tears well up in her eyes—that’s how sad she was to be voiceless.

Ellie’s life is turned upside down when she finds a curious instrument on the shore that makes the most amazing sound when she blows into it: Trööömmmpffff! Creatures come from near and far to hear Ellie’s magnificent new voice. But when Ellie learns that the horn actually belongs to Duke Junior who is desperately unhappy without it, she goes on an adventure to return the horn to its rightful owner. After days and nights of searching, she finds Duke Junior on an island in the middle of the water. To her surprise and delight, Duke Junior doesn’t just toot Tröömmmpfff on the horn… he plays the most beautiful music! Ellie is so happy that Duke Junior has his horn back and can produce such lovely sounds that she’s content listening to his tunes and being herself.



I have a soft spot in my heart for well-translated books. Not only is it a treat to be able to dive into stories although they were written in a different language, but these types of books give a better view into a different culture than a book written about a different culture (in my opinion.)

With interesting and unique illustrations, this is a tale about jealousy, fitting in, and finding a way to accept ones self in even unexpected ways.

Ellie is a bird, who can't peep. Everything else around her has its own voice; even rain pitter-patters. She's very sad and doesn't know what to do until she runs across a very strange object. One blow and a noise comes out. Finally, she has her own voice and everyone wants to listen to her...but it may not be as wonderful as she thinks.

It's easy to sympathize with Ellie as she watches the world around her express itself through noise, while she has none. Her discovery of a fitting 'voice' is a bit different than what one might expect, but it works. Young listeners will not only identify with her problem, but be drawn in by the originality and imagination. This is also a story that pulls at the heart-strings, switching from sadness to happiness to excitement to disappointment and ending with a twist, which is filled with warmth and thought. The idea in this one drives deep (especially after the ending), which opens up to discussions and draws warm emotions. It's one of those tales, which ends on just the right note, making it a book not to be ignored.

The illustrations in this book are lovely. Done in black and white, the tiny details are exquisite and really shine with their whimsical, imaginative flair. And all of that while still drawing the reader in with clear understanding of what is happening. It's a treat to flip through again and again, and earns a special spot on the bookshelf.

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