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A Sound Like Someone Trying Not to Make a Sound

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  773 ratings  ·  48 reviews
In John Irving's ninth novel A Widow for One Year, a creepy children's book author named Ted Cole writes a bedtime story about things that go bump in the night. That odd, gently comical tale is brought to life here with Tatjana Hauptmann's shadowy, moonlit pencil illustrations. Young Tom wakes up in the middle of the night to an unusual sound, but his two-year-old brother ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published 2003 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
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A Prayer for Owen Meany by John IrvingThe World According to Garp by John IrvingThe Cider House Rules by John IrvingA Widow for One Year by John IrvingThe Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving
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Average rating 4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  773 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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Mar 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
This is one of my favorite childrens books. I learned about it from watching the movie A Door In The Floor with Jeff Bridges...a must see :)
Mar 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-children
I received this book from Amazon yesterday and promptly read it to my 2-year old daughter who hears several books read aloud each night as part of her go to sleep for the night routine. I'm a big fan of John Irving and loved the idea that he had written a children's book, giving my daughter a chance to become one of his fans as well at quite the young age. She typically makes it very clear which books are among her favorites. Time will tell whether this one gets added to that list, but based on ...more
I like the story as an adult but I wouldn't want to read it to a child before bedtime. I may not want to read it myself before bedtime.

When Tom, who has been awakened by a mysterious noise, tries to tell his father what the creature sounds like, they have the following conversation:
"What does it sound like?" his father asked.
"It sounded like a monster with no arms and no legs, but it was trying to move," Tom said.
"How could it move with no arms and no legs?" his father asked.
"It wriggles," Tom
May 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
Children's books aren't John Irving's natural medium, as he admits in the Introduction to A Sound Like Someone Trying Not to Make a Sound. A few of his adult novels are alternatively classified as young-adult, but John Irving built his reputation by writing nouveau classic literature, his era's answer to the likes of William Golding, John Steinbeck, Jack London, and Jonathan Swift. John Irving won major prizes ranging from the National Book Award to an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for The ...more
Apr 14, 2009 rated it liked it
Holy Shit!!!! Someone returned this book to the library today. And it is written by John Irving, one of my old favorite fiction writers. My favorite thing about his books were that a bunch of his characters were writers, and I like writers. I am reflecting on the number of writers in my life.... There are a lot!!!!! So the character in the story writes books for his kids, and one of them is "A SOund Like Someone Tryig Not to Make a Sound." I was so dark during those John Irving days. It was arou ...more
May 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kidatheart, irving
Read this one because it was referenced in a different Irving novel. Recall it being a little scary for kids.
Bianca Orellana
Feb 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 1-000-bbk
3 stars for the story, 4 for the illustrations
3.5 stars!
Oct 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. I was so excited to find out that this story from A Widow for One Year was made into an actual children's book. When I did, I purchased it immediately. There is something wonderful about this story. I love reading it aloud - it has a melodious rhythm. I keep this on my own personal book shelf and not with my young daughter's books. Not sure if this is something I would read to her or not. I think it is more enjoyable for an adult diehard Irving fan, like me, than for a child (c ...more
Sep 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
I never intended to read this book to my children, but since I am a huge Irving fan my son stumbled on this one day and believed it to be a book from his own shelf. I am a bit surprised at how adamant many readers are about it's appropriateness for children, given the amount of other junk our kids are inadvertently exposed to on a daily basis....
I like its connection to Widow for One Year, and if you have not read that novel it seems like a an average picture book. For whatever reason, possibly
Louise (A Strong Belief in Wicker)
Interesting. A character in Irving's A Widow for One Year (I think that book is lurking in the TBR somewhere) is a children's author. This story is one that he writes. It has now been brought to life on it's own. A great story. A young boy wakes up after hearing a strange noise- a noise like a dress slipping off it's hanger, or a sounds like someone trying not to make a sound. The classic things that go bump in the night are explained away. The illustrations are dark and foreboding, and probably ...more
Laura Morrigan
May 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I love this book but I don't think I'd read it to all kids. I think it would have terrified me as a kid. Which is, of course, why I love it now!

(view spoiler)
Denise Eggleston
Dec 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Okay, I don't usually read childrens' books, but John Irving wrote this one. I am a long-time fan of Irving and collect first editions of his books(some are worth a lot more than what I paid for them). My husband bought a signed copy of A Sound Like Someone... for me for Christmas. Irving rarely signs now, so this was special. I read it in one sitting and enjoyed it. I guess I am just a kid at heart. ...more
Miss Kate
Mar 06, 2014 rated it liked it
This book is excerpted from a favourite John Irving book of mine, A Widow for One Year, so I felt I needed to read it. I think the book's a bit dark for children since it doesn't have the typical, reassuring resolution. It's a better book for older children or those who are not unreasonably scared since Tom's description of a hairy monster "with no arms and no legs" was a bit on the gruesome side. ...more
Jul 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well I loved Widow for One Year. I used to pretend to be the thing that hid in the door in the floor and scare my daughter. I am sure I scared her for life but she loves this book and so do I. I was hoping that he would make a children's book. You would have to read the novel to fully understand this book. So great! ...more
Purl Scout
Feb 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
such a beautiful story. the story haunted me for a long time after reading it in irving's "a widow for one year" but i'm not a fan of the illustrations in this book. i'd love to see it illustrated more along the lines of work by anders brekhus nilsen. darker, more ethereal. ...more
Oct 25, 2010 added it
i'd be interested in reading this, though i was sad to see that this is the title of one of the books in "widow for one year," but the plot of another. i'd actually be more interested in reading the book described under this title in the longer novel. but, eh. ...more
Mar 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is definitely one of my favorite bedtime stories ever written. True to form, Irving delivers an interesting story, quickly develops characters, and leaves you wanting more. The illustrations alone are worth checking this book out. Highly recommend!
Mar 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens-books
I love that Irving wrote this book. My kids like it because it's a cool book; I like it because I feel like it's an inside joke, in way, that Irving wrote this really for his adult fans. ...more
May 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Irving fans, esp readers of "Widow"
Recommended to Deb by: Mom got me started on Irving
Adjunct to "A Widow for One Year". ...more
Sep 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
I liked it because it's John Irving. Probably won't be a classic of childhood. ...more
This book shows how a child's imagination at night can turn the house into a very scary place. It was written well and the illustrations really added to the story. ...more
Apr 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Different type of story but liked the pages throughout with illustrations only (no words). A cute little story.
Dec 11, 2009 rated it liked it
Although I loved that this book materialized out of his novel onto our local bookshelves, I don't think this should actually be read to children. ...more
May 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A great book to read to the grandchildren! They love to hear it over and over.
Jun 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Children's book, but lovely. Best opening line of a book, "Tom woke up, but Tim did not." Says it all. ...more
Jul 21, 2010 rated it liked it
A children's picture book written by John Irving but first introduced in his book Widow for One Year by character Ted Cole as he tells this story to his five-year-old daughter Ruth. ...more
Jun 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read this to my children at night countless times prior to going to bed. It's lovely. ...more
KT Montana
Jul 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: little-bookworms
This is from A Widow for One Year. I remember wishing there was an actual kids book to go along with it and here it is!
Aug 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Really wonderful! I couldn't believe when I saw this available and I'm so glad more people have been introduced to Mr. Irving from something like this. One of my all time favorite lines, too. ...more
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JOHN IRVING was born in Exeter, New Hampshire, in 1942. His first novel, Setting Free the Bears, was published in 1968, when he was twenty-six. He competed as a wrestler for twenty years, and coached wrestling until he was forty-seven.
Mr. Irving has been nominated for a National Book Award three times—winning once, in 1980, for his novel The World According to Garp. He received an O. Henry Award

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