1989 Newbery Medal: Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman

Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices, by Paul Fleischman, was published in 1988 by HarperCollins.

Rating: 4/5

This review will be short, as befitting an incredibly short book. Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices is—as the title suggests—a book of poetry specifically formatted for two people to read out loud. The poetry is in two columns, designed for one reader to read the left and the other to read the right. Sometimes the lines overlap, sometimes not. This makes for some interesting poetry, such as “Honeybees” where the two columns say opposite things about the queen bee, or to sort of emulate the hopping of grasshoppers or the whirring of cicadas by having separate, overlapping lines like a round in a song.

I don’t really have much to say about the book, however. I thought the format was clever, though the effect is a little loss as a single reader, and the poems, all about different insects, communicated different aspects of those insects well (also thanks to the format). I’m not overly fond of poetry, so I didn’t spend a lot of time reflecting on the poems beyond “Hm, cool,” and then moving on.  I am glad that a book of poetry won the Newbery Medal, however.

Recommended Age Range: 8+

Warnings: None.

Genre: Children’s

You can buy this book here: https://amzn.to/2YCEx7v

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