Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices
Paul Fleischman & Eric Beddows
HarperTrophy, 2005 (1988)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio
Read an Excerpt
Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke
leischman's collection of fourteen persuasive poems honor the insect world. They're intended to be read aloud by two voices, alternating or simultaneous. Attention is given to the short life of the mayfly, the book lice with a taste '
from Schiller to thrillers
', the pulse of the cicada, the honeybee, chrysalid butterflies, and whirligig beetles. The synergy of words complements the insect described in the poem, with a diversity in timbre, temper, and topic. Each poem echoes the '
booming, boisterous, joyful noise
' of an insect.
emories immediately drew me to '
'. As a youngster on a warm Summer night, I recall collecting a few in a jar just long enough to hug them close, and in sorrow - releasing them. Fireflies here are performing
Light / is the ink we use / Night / is our parchment ... Insect calligraphers / practicing penmanship ... Signing the June nights / as if they were paintings
'. And '
The Digger Wasp
' struggles through sadness - '
I will never / see my children, / they will never / gaze on me. / I'll have died / when they're emerging / next July. / So it must be.
' There's a romantic note in '
The Moth's Serenade
' to a porch light - '
Porch / light, / hear my plight! / I drink your light / like nectar ... Let's marry for a trice!
ow about Olympian '
Grasshoppers / hopping / high / Grasshoppers / jumping / Vaulting from / leaf to leaf ... Leapfrogging / longjumping / grasshoppers.
' And '
' alternately stages royalty and workers, '
Being a bee is a joy. / I'm a queen ... I lay eggs
' versus '
Being a bee / is a pain. / I'm a worker ... I'm up at dawn
'. My favorite are '
', which have the joy and wonder of millions of books to peruse, as they fall in love - '
I was born in a / fine old edition of Schiller / We're book lice ... I passed my youth / in an Agatha Christie ... We honeymooned in an / old guide book on Greece ... We're book-loving / book lice
his collection garnered many awards including: the
1989 Newbery Medal
1988 Notable Trade Books in the Language Arts
(NCTE), and the
1988 Books for the Teen Age
(NY Public Library). Eric Beddows' soft-pencil illustrations present insects soaring, spinning, swimming, kneeling, and hiding, matched to the format of easy-to-read text. I recommend
as fitting entertainment for all ages. Fleischman aptly ends his triumphant celebration of life - '
And now I recall / that last night / I dreamt of flying.
Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.
Find more Teens books on our
or in our book