The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet!

The Rooster Who Would Not be Quiet book cover

This book celebrates those individuals who have the courage to use their voice to make the world a better place.

Picture book, fiction
Interest level: K-3; Reading level: 3.4
5 out of 5 stars

The town of La Paz is a noisy place, and the villagers decide they want a change. They elect a new mayor, Don Pepe, who sets out to make La Paz quiet. He succeeds, and for seven years silence reigns.

Then one day a rooster wanders into town and greets the morning with a song. Don Pepe is not pleased and informs the rooster that it is against the law to sing, to which the rooster replies, “Well that’s a silly law….Smell this sweet mango tree! How can I keep from singing?” Don Pepe cuts down the mango tree, thinking this will stop the rooster, but the next morning the rooster crows again. The story continues with the rooster being put in a cage, then starved, followed by placed in total darkness.

What motivates this brave rooster?

I sing for those who dare not sing — or have forgotten how…If I must sing for them as well, señor, how can I keep from singing?

Don Pepe threatens to make the rooster into soup, to which the rooster replies

Dead roosters sing no songs…But a song is louder than one noisy little rooster and stronger than one bully of a mayor…And it will never die — so long as there is someone to sing it.”

The villagers, inspired by the rooster, began to long for their own songs that they remembered from the past, joined the rooster with their own voices. Don Pepe escapes from the noise of the village, and things return to the way it was at the beginning of the story, only this time, the villagers are happy with the noise.

Carmen Agra Deedy has crafted an allegorical tale that reminds us not to let our voice be silent, and celebrates those brave souls who stand up to injustice and tyranny. Eugene Yelchin’s illustrations perfectly convey the tone of the fairytale style of text, and portray the rooster as a proud and unchanging champion.

The Author’s Note at the end sums up the lesson readers are meant to carry with them

Roosters sing at sunrise; they also sing
at noon, sundown, and in the middle of night.
Roosters sing when they please, and that’s all there is to that.

Much like roosters, human children are born with voices
strong and true — and irrepressible.

Then, bit by bit, most of us learn to temper our opinions,
censor our beliefs, and quiet our voices.

But not all of us.

There are always those who resist being silenced,
who will crow out their truth,
without regard to consequences.

Foolhardy or wise, they are the ones
who give us the courage to sing.

The vibrant and expressive illustrations and fairytale quality of the story would make this an excellent read-aloud.

The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet!
by Carmen Agra Deedy; illustrated by Eugene Yelchin
Scholastic Press, 2017
ISBN 978-0-545-72288-9

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