• Written by Sheryl McFarlane
  • Illustrations by Kim LaFave
  • Ages: 1-3 Grade: Preschool
  • 5.25 x 7, 20 boards
  • On the Farm ISBN: 978-1-55041-814-9
  • At The Circus ISBN: 978-1-55041-959-5
  • By the Sea ISBN: 978-1550419573
  • In the City ISBN:978-1550418125
  • hc $10.95 CDN /$7.95 US


“Highly recommended.”  CM Magazine

“This bright, sturdy first book brings the sights and sounds of the seashore to life. From the LAP of waves against the shore to the PAT, PAT sound of shovels in the sand, the book makes sounds come alive through its words and pictures. Little ones will enjoy hearing this cheery book read to them during playtime and at bedtime.” —Canadian Toy Testing Council

“…spirited. LaFave’s cartoon illustrations utilize inventive perspectives and suggestive details such as the soft shadow of towing building cast over children at recess.” – Publishers Weekly

“Kim LaFave’s illustrations, on the farm and in the city, flow from double-page spread to double-page spread, all the colour of birds, tractors, fire engines and garbage trucks, humans and animals contained within fluid black brushstrokes. Rhyming couplets keep things moving along at a good clip…” – The Globe and Mail

“Little ones will delight in turning the sturdy pages of these books full of sound…perfect for little noisemakers everywhere.” – Edmonton Sun


“What’s That Sound?” series

On The Farm

At the Circus

By the Sea

In the City

Excerpt from On The Farm

Sheepdog herds with a nip nip BARK
BAA BAA sheep bleat in the dark

Swallows TWITTER, SWOOP and play

Awards and Honours

  • The children at the Canadian Toy Testing Council have chosen What’s That Sound? By the Sea as one of the 10 “Great Books” of the year!
  • What’s That Sound? By the Sea is the Moonbeam Award silver medalist in the Board Book category.

About “What’s That Sound?”

Wherever you live, in the middle of a big city or on a farm, or even by the sea, toddlers revel in the unique cacophony of noisy delights that surround them every day. In the city, garbage trucks CLATTER and CLANG, car horns go BEEP, BEEP, and sirens WAIL. On the farm, tractors RUMBLE, Quaking ducks SPLISH SPLASH, and pigs SNORT, SNORT, SQUEAL. By the sea, seagulls SCREAM and sea lions BELLOW, BARK, and ROAR and if you visit the circus, you can hear TRUMPETING elephants and ROARING tigers.

These bright, colorful board books serve a dual purpose for inquisitive little ones. Not only do they link noises to objects but they encourage the association of meaning to letters on a page—the first, crucial step in developing young readers.

Author Sheryl McFarlane’s rhythmic read-aloud texts are perfectly complimented by Kim LaFave’s bright and colorful scenes. A glorious series of books for little noisemakers everywhere.


Published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside: Toronto, 2004.

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