"The best children's stories are wisdom dipped in art and words." -Peter Reynolds

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Joyful Noise

Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman and illustrated by Eric Beddows, was published in 1988 by Harper & Row. It won the 1989 Newberry medal and is a lovely collection of poems about various insects. The poems go into great rhythmic detail about the insects' personalities, habits, and sounds.

There is a note in the beginning of the book that explains how the book is supposed to be read: " two readers at once, one taking the left-hand part, the other taking the right-hand part. The poems should be read from top to bottom, the two parts meshing as in a musical duet. When both readers have lines at the same horizontal level, those lines are to be spoken simultaneously." I very much appreciated this note and I'm sure young readers would as well! Without it, I'm not sure that I would have felt the full impact of Fleischman's beautiful poetry.

The poems in Joyful Noise are truly magical. Each poem sounds like a unique song; rhythmic and full of life. When the poems are read with another person, like they are supposed to be, they really blossom into the creative genius they are. My favorite poem of them all has to be "Fireflies." It is difficult for me to type up an excerpt of the poem when I feel in order to get the full effect, you need to hear it. This link will take you to a recording of a brother and sister reading Fleischman's "Fireflies" aloud: Click me!

There are also black and white charcoal pencil style insect drawings throughout the book that correspond to the poems. They are whimsical and full of character and excitement! The insects take on personalities and facial expressions of real people, which makes them very child-friendly.

Young readers of all ages will fall in love with Joyful Noise. It would make a wonderful bedtime story for parents and their children. It would also be excellent for practicing fluency in school. I am really looking forward to sharing this magical book with my second graders. They love participating in reader's theater scripts and fluency activities so I am positive they will be eager to practice with this work of art!

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