soup of the day: holler loudly by cynthia leitich smith and barry gott!

*Warning: The following post may be too loud for readers with sensitive ears. Please wear adequate protection such as noise reduction headphones, earmuffs or earplugs. However, the consumption of loud foods (chips, crackers, raw carrots, crisp apples) is highly encouraged. ☺

alphabet soup bears enjoying the loudest book in the world.

“five . .  four . . . three . . . two, one . . .”

Wahoo! Yahoo! Two Big Hoots and a Holler!

While we’re at it, Yippee Ti Yi Yo yerselves to the nearest hitching post so I can yell tell ya about a brand new picture book just released a week ago: Holler Loudly by Cynthia Leitich Smith and Barry Gott!

If you’ve got clean ears, chances are good they’re already ringing with the good news of this rollicking Southwestern tall tale about a boy named Holler who was born with a BIG voice. So big, and so LOUD was his cry that “every hound dog in the county rolled up his ears and tossed back his head to bay . . . So LOUD the armadillos woke from their naps and the turkey vultures dropped their feathers.”

Everywhere he went, every time he tried to just be himself and express his excitement, people would tell him to HUSH, HUSH, HUSH!

Perfectly understandable, really, since Holler’s LOUD voice blows off rooftops, upends desks in math class and sends everyone a-flyin’, gets him thrown out of the movie theatre, ruins a fishing trip with Gramps, and closes down the State Fair because his
S – O – O – E- Y causes a livestock stampede. Look out! PIGS and CATTLE coming through!

Poor Holler — so tired of being scolded, misunderstood, ostracized and HUSHED at every turn.

After the whole town yells at him at an outdoor concert, Holler notices that when he’s quiet, he can listen better and enjoy the music of Gramps’s barbershop quartet. But when a sassy tornado threatens the town, he realizes there are times to be quiet and times to be LOUD — “so LOUD, so absolutely, positively, knee-shakin’, earth-quakin’ LOUD,” it can actually help him save the day. And just wait till you see how the town rewards the little boy with the big voice!

Barry Gott’s zany, cartoony illos amplify the boisterous narrative at least a zillion decibels with spread after spread of holler and hush, hush and hollerin’, YEE HAWIN’ mayhem. Better tie yourself down, lest you end up flyin’, blowin’, and catapultin’ through this uproarious, outlandish taller than tall tale. Holler’s speech is depicted in colorful, oversized text that’s perfect for interactive, read-aloud fun. Very likely, Holler Loudly holds the world’s record for the largest number of wide open mouths in any one story. Now, that’s a LOT of tongues. ☺


Let’s tone up our tonsils and GIVE A BIG SHOUT OUT to Cynthia and Barry for creating this rip roarin’ romp. As you may know, one of the potentially LOUDEST foods in the world is SOUP. It’s all up to you, really. Are you capable of some earth-shakin’, riotously raucous SLURPIN’ AND BURPIN’? Okay Cowboys and Cowgirls, dip your BIGGEST spoons into the bowl right now and give it your all!

Today’s Special: Gott Soup? (seasoned with cactus, catfish and cacophony, with a twister lime. Guaranteed to make you proud to be LOUD).

Hey, I can’t hear you. You can do better than that!


*picks self off floor* WOW! That was good!

To go with your soup, Bear Brand hot tamales:



Wait, let me turn down the volume just a smidgen.


How about some Wild West cupcakes?

Sugar Daze/flickr

For those who prefer something quieter, help yourself to some cotton candy cupcakes:


We’ve also got some Talavera Sun Face Cookies,


and we can’t forget the old-fashioned Chocolate Chip Cookies, just like the ones Holler’s mom made for him:

Astrid Walter/flickr

Okay, Little Dogies, the time has come for you to jump atop your ponies and rustle up some serious hoo-haw for Holler Loudly at your local indie or fave online bookseller. Those of you visiting a bricks and mortar store, don’t forget your boots and chaps. No need to holler at the cashier if you’re not so inclined; a simple tip of your Stetson will do. If you want to open your mouth real wide and show everyone your tonsils, go for it. Buy copies for everyone on your holiday gift list, and stand TALL for this terrific TALL TALE!

written by Cynthia Leitich Smith
illustrated by Barry Gott
Picture Book for ages 4-8, 32 pp.
Cool themes: tall tales and jawin’, individuality, families, social interactions, communities, humor, tornadoes, American Southwest.

♥ Visit Cynthia Leitich Smith’s official website for more about Holler Loudly. Be sure to check out the fab Teacher Guides for Pre-K – Grade 2, created by Shannon Morgan, which are among the most comprehensive I’ve ever seen. There’s even a Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe :9.

♥ Learn more about illustrator Barry Gott at his website. Rumor has it he no longer sports a regrettable haircut, but still drinks a lot of coffee.

♥ Interviews: Cynthia with illustrator Barry Gott, Shutta Crum with Cynthia, Cynthia with Shannon Morgan, Bethany Hegedus with Cynthia (find out Holler’s favorite food!).

♥ Online Reviews: Jen Robinson at BookPage, BookMoot’s Field Test.

♥ Launch party held November 14th at Book People for Holler Loudly, Truth with a Capital T (Bethany Hegedus), and Alien Invasion (Brian Yansky).


*Spreads posted by permission, text copyright © 2010 Cynthia Leitich Smith, illustrations © 2010 Barry Gott, published by Dutton Children’s Books. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2010 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. All rights reserved.

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