Merchant of Noises

Hardcover sale price: $10.00 (Regularly $18.95)

In his snazzy plaid coat and dandyish bowler hat, Mr. Bing may seem every bit the playboy, but his sharp haberdashery conceals a shrewd head for business and a fine ear for, well, noises. Not just any noises, mind you, but the sort of noises people want to hear again and again.

One day in the forest, Mr. Bing stumbles upon a million-dollar idea: there are certain noises that, if one could package them attractively, people might want to own. On this modest yet startling premise, he opens a workshop to build and sell his new inventions: part sculpture, part musical instrument, Mr. Bing’s wholly original devices make exotic, unexpected, and delightful noises. A few skeptics may scoff, but these remarkable inventions are a ready hit with the public. An impresario arrives with an offer to set up an exhibition in Tokyo.

Yet just as Mr. Bing should be reaping the rewards of his success, things start to go awry. An angry customer arrives, defective noise in hand (clearly a counterfeit), demanding a refund. And there’s the matter of the missing Trooloooooloo that keeps him awake at night. . .

This light-hearted book, the first collaboration between author Anna Rozen and illustrator François Avril, is a whimsical tale of ingenuity, industry, horse-sense – and a little impromptu detective work.

This quirky offering spoofs the highbrow world of “sophisticated” visual-arts appreciation. The title gives a hint of the tongue-in-cheek humor so wonderfully expressed within…this creative gem is sure to appeal to savvy children who will appreciate their roles as creators and consumers of sounds.
—Kirsten Cutler, School Library Journal

Anna Rozen lives in Paris and writes novels for grownups and picture books for children.

Francois Avril is a cartoonist and printmaker as well as an illustrator of children’s books. He lives in Paris.