No Talking

No Talking

4.4 135
by Andrew Clements, Mark Elliott
     
 

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"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 —

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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:
06/23/2009
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
160
Sales rank:
28,146
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
820L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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