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Big Talk: Poems for Four Voices
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Big Talk: Poems for Four Voices

by Paul Fleischman, Beppe Giacobbe (Illustrator)

"Following his Newbery Medal-winning Joyful Noise, Fleischman offers another collection of beautifully orchestrated, spirited poems for many voices." — BOOKLIST

These rousing, rib-tickling poems demand the joy of reading aloud. Settle back and chant "The Quiet Evenings Here," as Grandma rocks, the clock tick-tocks, and no one


"Following his Newbery Medal-winning Joyful Noise, Fleischman offers another collection of beautifully orchestrated, spirited poems for many voices." — BOOKLIST

These rousing, rib-tickling poems demand the joy of reading aloud. Settle back and chant "The Quiet Evenings Here," as Grandma rocks, the clock tick-tocks, and no one cares a hoot for the world outside. Delight in "Seventh-Grade Soap Opera," alive with hearsay about who’s holding hands with whom. This innovative book weaves a tapestry of rhythm that will have readers of all ages sounding off.

Editorial Reviews

Leonard S. Marcus
These sly poems, meant to be read by multiple voices, come alive to create satisfying proof of the music of words.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Fleischman expands from verse duets, as featured in his Newbery Award-winning Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices, to quartets with this well-crafted volume. Part drama, part chorus, the three extended poems read like a musical score: each speaker follows a line of color--green, yellow, orange or purple--then rests when the line is blank. An introduction explains how to use the book and suggests some variations (for fewer or more than four readers). Except for the full-page images that begin and end each poem, Italian artist Giacobbe's computer-generated illustrations appear within a kind of elaborate comic strip at the bottom of each page. Fleischman's poems vary in dramatic and poetic intensity. In "The Quiet Evenings Here," droll country folk detail the noises of city life, images of which Giacobbe captures in sepia tones, as well as their preferred serene gatherings around the hearth, rendered in full color. Readers eventually realize that the "peaceful" evenings--"Grandma rockin'/ Clock tick-tockin'/ Sister hummin'/ Grandpa strummin' "--may not be so quiet after all. "Seventh-Grade Soap Opera" gives voice to the perils of junior high life as a never-ending saga; the artwork carries through the theme with extended phone chords and overlapping images within discreet vignettes. In "Ghosts Grace," the standout among the collection, four ghostly narrators observe a family at dinner and, much as Emily does in Wilder's Our Town, the foursome savors the extraordinary nature of ordinary experience. A lively and thought-provoking treat guaranteed to get kids talkin'. Ages 10-14. (Mar.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Sure, you're verbal, but are you verbally coordinated? If Paul Fleischman's Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices left you tripping over words and stammering like a fool, Big Talk will leave you speechless. Fleischman gives words life, making them dance gracefully around each other as four voices unite to tell stories. Three poems are included; each is progressively more complicated. From the rhythmic beat of "The Quiet Evenings Here" to the gossip of "Seventh Grade Soap Opera" and the eerie voices in "Ghost's Grace," poetry-lovers will savor the words as they roll off the tongue. A salad becomes "A jungle explored by fork" (p. 33), and corn on the cob invites diners "To march down the rows with your eager incisors/To bite into summer itself, sweet as sugar" (p. 38). Color-coded lines let readers know which words are theirs, and careful spacing directs them when to jump in. These poems are a wonderful challenge for anyone with an agile tongue. 2000, Candlewick Press, Ages 8 to 14, $14.99. Reviewer: Carol Lynch
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Fleischman expands the choir in this new collection of poems for multiple readers. Four voices intertwine to narrate the three amusing scenarios. Rhythmic refrains define "The Quiet Evenings Here," with "Sister hummin'," "Grandpa strummin'," "Grandma rockin'," and the "Clock tick-tockin'." Once readers get their color-coded lines sorted out, this will be a toe-tappin', audience-joinin'-in pleaser. "Seventh-Grade Soap Opera" catalogs the doings and dramas of the peer group in terse verse, inviting improvisation. And "Ghosts' Grace," with the longing voices of spirits yearning for old pleasures as they observe a family hastily dispatching with dinner, is both poignant and fun. Giacobbe's computer-generated paintings in warm, muted tones are an effective folksy backdrop. While there are a few full-page pictures, most of the art consists of strips of small vignettes running below the narrative. Instructions for group reading introduce the poems. This book will find a host of uses in choral reading and in stimulating reading, discussion, and writing. The likely cacophony will bring giggles as readers work on getting the hang of all of this big talk.-Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|

Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
10.96(w) x 7.29(h) x 1.90(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Paul Fleischman grew up in a home filled with books and music. "after years along on the piano bench," he says, "I learned to play the recorder and fell in love iwth the camaraderie of chamber music. Recently, I just joined my first string quartet. What joy! I've tried to bring this bliss into these spoken quartets." The author of many awardwinning books, Paul Fleischman lives in Pacific Grove, California.

Beppe Giacobbe was born in Milan, Italy, in 1953, and is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York. In addition to teaching at the European Institute of Design, he also illustrates book jackets and, in his spare time, creates sculptures out of knicknacks and objects he finds while out walking. He says he is "a calm and meticulous man, who vents his emotions while drawing." Beppe Giacobbe lives in Milan.

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