Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices

Joyful Noise:  Poems for Two Voices 

By:  Paul Fleischman
Illustrated By:  Eric Beddows 

This is a poetry book about insects.  Grasshoppers, Fireflies, Cicadas, Honeybees, and more.  The poems are written so that two people should read them aloud such as the video on the right shows.

When I first saw this book I was not impressed with the cover at all.  I read through the poems and with the exception of a few of them I did not enjoy them.  I did like the ones titled Book Lice, The House Crickets, and Chrysalis Diary.   I tried reading them out loud but with one voice they did not portray the same as I believe Fleischman intended and after reading about him and noticing he has written some plays that made more sense.  That is when I started to search you tube and found two videos that really made me enjoy the poems more.

The poems are set up in two different columns and are more like a play than a poetry book.  For example the House Cricket poem reads just as the House cricket is telling it and through out the poem we see crick-et, crick-et.  This is not the name of the Cricket but indicates that you should read it like the cricket is making noise throughout almost like someone that is reading with the hiccups.  This language choice makes the poem exciting but is definitely more suited for reading aloud.
We don't live in meadows
or is groves
We're house crickets
 living beneath
this gas stove
others may worry
about fall
We're scarcely aware
 of the seasons at all
If you just read it straight through it does not have the same impact as if you have the two people reading it aloud in Fleischman's design.  I also like that is not just a poem about what the insect is but tells us how the insect might feel and are told like the insect themselves wrote the poem.

There are black and white illustrations in the book that show us the insects that the poem is about.  They do a good job of giving us a visual of the insect but because they were in black and white I have to say I did not pay much attention to them.  They did not do much for me to add to my enjoyment of the book.  Maybe it was because they are in black and white and that just doesn't appeal to me personally.

I was unsure of what grade I would use this in or how I would use this book in the classroom.  Then I found this video of two high school students and I thought it would be brilliantly used for a fun way for students to express themselves and give the poems voice just as these two girls did.  I think some children would enjoy reading poetry in this way and maybe even encourage them to write their own and act it out.

You can browse inside the book at Harper Collins where the images are from.
Read more about Paul Fleischman

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