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No Talking

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Overview

"You have the right to remain silent." However...

The fifth-grade girls and the fifth-grade boys at Laketon Elementary don't get along very well. But the real problem is that these kids are loud and disorderly. That's why the principal uses her red plastic bullhorn. A lot.

Then one day Dave Packer, a certified loudmouth, bumps into an idea — a big one that makes him try to keep quiet for a whole day. But what does Dave hear during lunch? A girl, Lynsey Burgess, jabbering away. ...

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No Talking

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Overview

"You have the right to remain silent." However...

The fifth-grade girls and the fifth-grade boys at Laketon Elementary don't get along very well. But the real problem is that these kids are loud and disorderly. That's why the principal uses her red plastic bullhorn. A lot.

Then one day Dave Packer, a certified loudmouth, bumps into an idea — a big one that makes him try to keep quiet for a whole day. But what does Dave hear during lunch? A girl, Lynsey Burgess, jabbering away. So Dave breaks his silence and lobs an insult. And those words spark a contest: Which team can say the fewest words during two whole days? And it's the boys against the girls.

How do the teachers react to the silence? What happens when the principal feels she's losing control? And will Dave and Lynsey plunge the whole school into chaos?

This funny and surprising book is about language and thought, about words unspoken, words spoken in anger, and especially about the power of words spoken in kindness...with or without a bullhorn. It's Andrew Clements at his best — thought-provoking, true-to-life, and very entertaining.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Clements's (Lunch Money) latest thoughtful school tale opens as fifth-grader Dave researches a report on India. He is fascinated to learn that for years Mahatma Gandhi did not speak at all one day each week to "bring order to his mind." Dave, an inveterate blabber, tries to keep silent for a day at school, a plan that derails when he cannot contain his outrage at his classmate Lynsey's superficial, nonstop monologue at lunch ("She knew I wanted that sweater more than anything, and she bought it anyway. And then? After school on Friday at soccer practice? She smiledat me, like she wanted to be friends or something-as if!"). After she erupts at his complaint, the pair enlists their entire grade in an experiment to determine which gender can utter fewer words during a two-day period. The rules allow students to answer teachers' questions with a three-word-only response, but they are prohibited from speaking after school is dismissed. Enhancing the challenge is the fact that the fifth grade has a reputation for being particularly loquacious, prompting the teachers to dub them "The Unshushables." The contest plays out at an occasionally plodding pace, as Clements dwells on the teachers' musings about the competition as they find ways for the kids to learn and communicate nonverbally. Despite the rivalry that started the contest, the longstanding animosity between the boys and girls dissipates as the students bond over the experiment. Presuming the novel doesn't generate similar contests in real life, readers may be compelled to use their voices to praise Clement's deft handling of an interesting premise. Ages 8-12. (Jun.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
School Library Journal

Gr 3-6
Dave Packer's fifth-grade classmates are so boisterous and difficult to quiet down that the teachers have dubbed them "The Unshushables." Dave has just read about Mahatma Gandhi and learned that the man practiced silence one day a week to bring order to his mind. Though Dave likes to talk nonstop, he's determined to give the idea a try. An encounter with Lynsey, another chatterbox, sparks the boys and girls into challenging each other to a no-talking contest for 48 hours. They can answer direct questions from adults with three-word sentences but must otherwise remain silent. The teachers are bewildered at the extreme change in the kids until several of them figure out what's going on. Principal Hiatt demands that the quiet students return to their normal behavior. When the children continue with their silent ways, Dave finds himself at the center of the controversy. This is an interesting and thought-provoking book, similar to Clements's Frindle (S & S, 1996). The plot quickly draws readers in and keeps them turning pages. The author includes the viewpoints of both the students and the teachers, and the black-and-white pencil drawings add immediacy to the story. This lively offering would make a great book-group selection or classroom discussion starter.
—Elaine Lesh MorganCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
A vintage tale from the master of the theme-driven, feel-good school story. Having learned during the preparation of a class report that Mahatma Gandhi habitually spent one day a week not talking, Dave decides to try that out-but in the wake of a lunchroom shouting match with fellow fifth-grader Lynsey, the solo effort escalates into a two-day zipped-lip contest between the whole grade's infamously noisy boys and girls. As usual, Clements works out the rules and complications in logical ways (three-word replies to direct questions from adults are OK, for instance, which makes for some comical dialogue), casts no sociopaths among his crew of likable, well-intentioned young folk to spoil the experience and makes his points in engagingly indirect ways. The experiment soon takes on profound implications, too, as the collective action turns into civil disobedience when the autocratic principal decides to put a stop to it. By the end, the two camps have become more allies than rivals, and Dave has seen himself and those around him taking strides toward becoming more thoughtful, compassionate people. A strong addition to the "waging peace" genre. (Fiction. 9-11)
From the Publisher
"Andrew Clements set the standard for the school story in 1996 with his first novel, Frindle, which went on to sell more than two million copies...No Talking is Clements's best school story since." - The New York Times Book Review

"Readers may be compelled to use their voice to praise Clements's deft handling of an interesting premise." - Publishers Weekly

"A vintage tale from the master of the theme-driven, feel-good school story." - Kirkus Reviews, starred review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416909842
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 6/23/2009
  • Edition description: Repackage
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 30,993
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 820L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrew Clements is the author of the enormously popular Frindle. More than 10 million copies of his books have been sold, and he has been nominated for a multitude of state awards, including two Christopher Awards and an Edgar Award. His popular works include About Average, Troublemaker, Extra Credit, Lost and Found, No Talking, Room One, Lunch Money, and more. He is also the author of the Benjamin Pratt & the Keepers of the School series. He lives with his wife in Maine and has four grown children. Visit him at AndrewClements.com.

Mark Elliott has a BFA in illustration from the School of Visual Arts. He has illustrated a number of book covers, and his work has been exhibited at the Society of Illustrators and the Art Directors Guild. Mark lives on a sheep farm in the Hudson Valley region of New York.

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Introduction

Discussion Topics

Who are the "Unshushables"? How do the teachers at Laketon Elementary feel about the "Unshushables"? Have you ever been part of a noisy group? Why do you think this was the case?

Who is Gandhi and how does he get Dave Packer into trouble? Who helps turn Dave's experiment into a grade-wide contest? What are the terms of the contest?

Who is Mrs. Hiatt? List some of the unusual steps she has taken to try to handle the fifth-grade class. Have her efforts worked? Has she given up?

What surprises Mrs. Hiatt at the fifth-grade lunch on the second Tuesday of November? How do Mrs. Marlow, Mrs. Akers, and Mr. Burton each react to the surprise?

What challenges do the fifth graders encounter as they get through the first hours of the contest? What loopholes do they find that allow them to make noise? What are the differences between talking and noise?

What does Dave decide is the right word for the contest? Why do you think he chooses this word? Would you choose this same word to describe the contest?

Why does the author title Chapter 13 "Language Lab"? What experiment does Mr. Burton perform? What is the result of his experiment?

What do the kids discover as they try to keep quiet at home? How do their parents react to the silence?

How do the kids handle Mrs. Hiatt's "Pledge of Allegiance" trick? Why do they do this? What happens when Mrs. Hiatt demands an end to their contest? What change is happening in the relationships between the fifth graders?

Why doesn't Mrs. Escobar mind that the kids have disobeyed Mrs. Hiatt? What happens in her math class? What happens in Science, Social Studies, and Language Arts? How do the kids handle their music classon the second day?

How does Mr. Burton feel about Mrs. Hiatt's efforts to stop the fifth-grade contest? What does Mrs. Hiatt do when she finds out that the contest is still going on at lunchtime? How does she confront Dave? How does Dave respond?

How does Mrs. Hiatt feel about her actions? Can you understand why she acted the way she did? What happens when she asks Dave to her office?

Why is the final chapter entitled "Winners"? Who are the winners in this story? Explain your answer.

Activities and Research

Go to the library or online to learn more about Gandhi and civil disobedience. Use your research as the basis for a short report about Gandhi and what larger lessons from his life — beyond silence — are at play in No Talking.

Keep a journal in which you record the noisy and quiet times in your day or week. Include comments, such as how noise affected your mood or actions, and which parts of the day you most enjoyed. Share your observations with friends or classmates. Are their experiences and opinions similar to your own, or different?

Interview a teacher or school administrator about his or her job. Include questions about the value of order and quiet, how it is maintained, and when noise is okay. Have students ever taught them something exciting and new? Based on your interview, write an article about this teacher or administrator for your school or classroom newspaper.

Explore nonverbal ways people communicate, such as sign language and writing, or through arts such as pantomime, dance or painting. Divide classmates or friends into small groups to create informative posters about these different ways of communicating. Display the posters in your school or community, along with a "guestbook" inviting viewers to write down their reactions to the information.

Try one of Mr. Burton's experiments, such as making up a group story with each student offering just three words; spending a class period WRITING ONLY but communicating with at least four other people; or holding a debate, such as the pros and cons of soda machines in the cafeteria, using three-word arguments.

Make a "top ten" list of reasons for keeping quiet. Illustrate and post the list in your home or classroom. Or, list the top ten appropriate ways to make noise.

In the character of Mrs. Hiatt or Mr. Burton, give a presentation to a group of parents or colleagues, describing the No Talking Contest, its outcome, and how the experience changed your thoughts about teaching and discipline.

Write a letter to your teacher explaining why you would like to hold a No Talking Contest in your classroom. Do you think the activity will be easy or difficult? What do you hope to learn?

With the approval of parents or teachers, hold a No Talking experiment in your home or classroom. Agree to a set of rules (use rules from the story if desired), decide if this will be a contest, and determine how long it will last. Afterward, write a short essay about the experiment. Did it work? Who were the winners?

In the character of Lynsey, write a journal entry explaining why you decided to "even the score" between the boys and girls just before the contest ended. Or, in the character of Dave, write a journal entry explaining whether you would have done the same thing if the situation had been reversed and how you feel about Lynsey's actions.

Imagine you were one of the Laketon Elementary fifth graders involved in the No Talking Contest. Write an essay describing the two days from your point-of-view and the most important thing you learned from the contest. Conclude with an explanation of whether you would or would not participate in the contest if it started again tomorrow, and why.

Andrew Clements is the author of the enormously popular FRINDLE. He has been nominated for a multitude of state awards and has won the Christopher Award and an Edgar Award. His popular works include EXTRA CREDIT, LOST AND FOUND, NO TALKING, ROOM ONE, LUNCH MONEY, A WEEK IN THE WOODS, THE JACKET, THE SCHOOL STORY, THE JANITOR'S BOY, THE LANDRY NEWS, THE REPORT CARD AND THE LAST HOLIDAY CONCERT. Mr. Clements taught in the public schools near Chicago for seven years before moving East to begin a career in publishing and writing. He lives with his wife in central Massachusetts and has four grown children.  His website is andrewclements.com. 

Keith Nobbs has appeared on Broadway in The Lion In Winter and off-Broadway in Dog Sees God, Romance, The Hasty Heart, Bye Bye Birdie, Dublin Carol, and Four (Lucille Lortel Award, Drama Desk Nomination). His film credits include Phone Booth, Double Whammy, and 25th Hour. Television credits include The Black Donnellys (series regular), Law and Order: Criminal Intent, and The Sopranos.

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Reading Group Guide

Discussion Topics

Who are the "Unshushables"? How do the teachers at Laketon Elementary feel about the "Unshushables"? Have you ever been part of a noisy group? Why do you think this was the case?

Who is Gandhi and how does he get Dave Packer into trouble? Who helps turn Dave's experiment into a grade-wide contest? What are the terms of the contest?

Who is Mrs. Hiatt? List some of the unusual steps she has taken to try to handle the fifth-grade class. Have her efforts worked? Has she given up?

What surprises Mrs. Hiatt at the fifth-grade lunch on the second Tuesday of November? How do Mrs. Marlow, Mrs. Akers, and Mr. Burton each react to the surprise?

What challenges do the fifth graders encounter as they get through the first hours of the contest? What loopholes do they find that allow them to make noise? What are the differences between talking and noise?

What does Dave decide is the right word for the contest? Why do you think he chooses this word? Would you choose this same word to describe the contest?

Why does the author title Chapter 13 "Language Lab"? What experiment does Mr. Burton perform? What is the result of his experiment?

What do the kids discover as they try to keep quiet at home? How do their parents react to the silence?

How do the kids handle Mrs. Hiatt's "Pledge of Allegiance" trick? Why do they do this? What happens when Mrs. Hiatt demands an end to their contest? What change is happening in the relationships between the fifth graders?

Why doesn't Mrs. Escobar mind that the kids have disobeyed Mrs. Hiatt? What happens in her math class? What happens in Science, Social Studies, and Language Arts? How do the kids handle their music class on the second day?

How does Mr. Burton feel about Mrs. Hiatt's efforts to stop the fifth-grade contest? What does Mrs. Hiatt do when she finds out that the contest is still going on at lunchtime? How does she confront Dave? How does Dave respond?

How does Mrs. Hiatt feel about her actions? Can you understand why she acted the way she did? What happens when she asks Dave to her office?

Why is the final chapter entitled "Winners"? Who are the winners in this story? Explain your answer.

Activities and Research

Go to the library or online to learn more about Gandhi and civil disobedience. Use your research as the basis for a short report about Gandhi and what larger lessons from his life — beyond silence — are at play in No Talking.

Keep a journal in which you record the noisy and quiet times in your day or week. Include comments, such as how noise affected your mood or actions, and which parts of the day you most enjoyed. Share your observations with friends or classmates. Are their experiences and opinions similar to your own, or different?

Interview a teacher or school administrator about his or her job. Include questions about the value of order and quiet, how it is maintained, and when noise is okay. Have students ever taught them something exciting and new? Based on your interview, write an article about this teacher or administrator for your school or classroom newspaper.

Explore nonverbal ways people communicate, such as sign language and writing, or through arts such as pantomime, dance or painting. Divide classmates or friends into small groups to create informative posters about these different ways of communicating. Display the posters in your school or community, along with a "guestbook" inviting viewers to write down their reactions to the information.

Try one of Mr. Burton's experiments, such as making up a group story with each student offering just three words; spending a class period WRITING ONLY but communicating with at least four other people; or holding a debate, such as the pros and cons of soda machines in the cafeteria, using three-word arguments.

Make a "top ten" list of reasons for keeping quiet. Illustrate and post the list in your home or classroom. Or, list the top ten appropriate ways to make noise.

In the character of Mrs. Hiatt or Mr. Burton, give a presentation to a group of parents or colleagues, describing the No Talking Contest, its outcome, and how the experience changed your thoughts about teaching and discipline.

Write a letter to your teacher explaining why you would like to hold a No Talking Contest in your classroom. Do you think the activity will be easy or difficult? What do you hope to learn?

With the approval of parents or teachers, hold a No Talking experiment in your home or classroom. Agree to a set of rules (use rules from the story if desired), decide if this will be a contest, and determine how long it will last. Afterward, write a short essay about the experiment. Did it work? Who were the winners?

In the character of Lynsey, write a journal entry explaining why you decided to "even the score" between the boys and girls just before the contest ended. Or, in the character of Dave, write a journal entry explaining whether you would have done the same thing if the situation had been reversed and how you feel about Lynsey's actions.

Imagine you were one of the Laketon Elementary fifth graders involved in the No Talking Contest. Write an essay describing the two days from your point-of-view and the most important thing you learned from the contest. Conclude with an explanation of whether you would or would not participate in the contest if it started again tomorrow, and why.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 130 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(103)

4 Star

(11)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(9)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 130 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Students and adults alike could learn from this book!

    "No Talking" by Andrew Clements is a great book for elementary aged students...and their teachers! The book is written in a way that makes it easy for students to read and follow the story, containing a lot of humor and dialogue as well as some well-done, but not distracting, illustrations. So what is the book about? Basically, Dave Packer and all his fifth grade classmates make up the "unshushables", a group so talkative no teacher can quiet them for an entire class period. But, when Dave learns about Gandhi and the days of silence he took to clear his mind, he comes up with the idea to try it himself...but he just can't stand Lynsey Burgess and all her blabbermouth friends with all their talking about silly things one day at lunch. In this moment, a grand challenge begins, one that involves the entire fifth grade class, one that captivates all the teachers, frustrates the principal, and teaches everyone an amazing lesson about communication and collaboration.

    I would definitely recommend this book for students, for teachers, and for anyone who has a noisy child or works in a noisy school. "No Talking" is filled with lessons for all. It is easy to relate to and very hard to put down. It's boys versus girls, teachers versus students, and the principal against a force even she can't overcome with an explosive ending (brought to you by Dave) and a great lesson that all of us should stop and think about.

    Five stars from me!

    18 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2009

    vary good

    It is really funny and I just wanted to keep reading it.It is a book that everybody could read. It is just a down to earth book.It is one of my favorite books I have ever read.

    11 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2012

    Loved It!

    I read this book.I think 5th graders would love this book.
    In No Talking,it 's boys against girl.It has a twist in it to.Dave Packer came up with the idea.Here is one rule,if a teacher asks you a question you can only say 3 words per question that,is asked.

    7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2012

    Luv it!!!!!!

    ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
    Its a really really good book.
    Check out other books from this author, they are really good too.
    ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 24, 2009

    No Talking a Good Read

    Andrew Clements does a great job again with his book No Talking. The book is well-written in a style that is perfect for the average 5th grade reader. The plot and conflict fall right in line with things a typical 5th grader might experience at school and make it very easy for student readers to make connections. The book also includes a great lesson-it would make a great read for teachers with very talkative classrooms! This is also an important reminder for adult readers (especially teachers and administrators) that we are, as adults, fallible and make mistakes. We have to be willing to swallow our pride as well and remember that it's all about the kids and setting good examples. <BR/>This book is a fabulous addition to any child's home library or any teacher's classroom library!

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2012

    Smoke to proof

    The hell you talking bout?

    5 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 11, 2009

    SHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No talking

    A contest between a boy and a girl. It is a good book. Can the boy and girl keep up the contest for one week?? Buy the book to find out.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 26, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    This is a great book

    A Fifth Grader that loves books
    The book "No Talking" is a very eventful book. It is about a boy named Dave and a girl named Lynsey. They make a bet on who can talk less boys or girls. If you speak that gender gets a point and whoever has the most points in the end loses. Personally this is a very good book and I really enjoyed it. There are many humorous thoughts when the smart teacher asks Dave a question and he can't answer or the boys got a point. Soon in "No Talking" people start to figure something is going wrong and they try to stop it. But does the game go on?

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 9, 2009

    No Talking

    Andrew Clements definitely knows children. Many a teacher wish that they could get their students to be quiet for 5 minutes much less a whole day. Well written, Mr. Clements!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2013

    Amazing book

    Awesome revenge!
    Boys vs girls rule!

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2013

    No Talking

    I thought that Andrew Clements did a great job with this book!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2013

    Read this book!

    This is an awesome book. You should get it. It is about some kids who start not talking in school. They can only say 3 words when a teacher talkes to them. The teachers don't like it at furst,...........

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2014

    Andrew clements

    Not to say Clemets is a bad writer, infact I have read multiple books of his and greatly enjoyed them, but he lacks something in each of his books that put me back aways. Each time I read one of his books, I get a couple chapters in and I atomaticly know exactly what the book is going to be about and what is going to happen towards the end of the book and what is going to happen before that and how it is going to happen. Not exactly predictable, alright, predictable. I just get bored when I know what is going down. Of course, I am a writer myself and you might not notice this. By all means, this is a great book thou I refuse to recommend this.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2013

    Hi

    Hi

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2013

    No talking

    GREAT BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2013

    LOV IT. BST BOOK EVR

    I love this book because it is fun but also educational. It teaches kids how you can comuinicate without talking. I think that every person should read this very awesome book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2012

    Great book

    Awesome and funny!!!!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2012

    Funny and spelling perfect

    I thought the book was wonderful the spelling was great but the poncuation was WAY off from it's sopost to be

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2012

    A Great Read!

    I liked this book because it was fresh and the characters were realistic and well-developed. However unrealistic the circumstance was, it perfectly captured the voice of fifth grade boys and girls, as well as their opinions about themselves and eachother. This book is my top
    Andrew Clements book. If you liked No Talking, be sure to check out Frindle, another wonderfully written Andrew Clements book.
    Happy Reading,
    Abby

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2012

    Awesome

    I loved this book. It's about boys and girls competing to see who talks more.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 130 Customer Reviews

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